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Title:Individual Freedom and Social Cooperation: Rousseau and a Basic Problem for Moral and Political Philosophy
Author(s):Lombardi, Louis Guido
Department / Program:Philosophy
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:This thesis examines Rousseau's attempt to reconcile individual freedom and the need for social cooperation. In his account of human social development, Rousseau describes three stages in which he considers human beings to be free: the state of nature, the primitive family, and the ideal civil society. An examination of the stages brings out a number of factors that are important for discussions of individual freedom. The factors range from the absence of restrictions by others, to self-government, to having options. Each factor has been proclaimed by some philosophers as the essence of social and political freedom. I argue that to adequately capture what is involved with such freedom, the factors must be considered together.
When the stages of social development that Rousseau describes are examined in light of the factors, it becomes evident that the settings exhibit the factors in different ways and to differing extents. There are, then, different types of freedom at the three stages. The state of nature, while providing a complete absence of restrictions by others, allows few options and limited self-government. On the other hand, the freedom in civil society involves some restrictions but greatly increases options and self-government. By examining the three types of freedom, I seek to indicate the nature and strength of the freedom that is possible in civil society. It is the value of such freedom (as compared to the other types) that supports Rousseau's often misunderstood claim that his ideal civil society reconciles individual freedom and the need for social cooperation.
Issue Date:1980
Description:270 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1980.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8017974
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-14
Date Deposited:1980

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