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Freedom in a 'State of Nature'

If the only way to be fully human is under a social contract, the contract becomes more important than the individuals who agree to it, and those individuals only have value if they agree to the contract. The contract is not agreed to individually be each person, but is affirmed by the group collectively, making the group more important than the individual. The sovereign and the general will are more important than its subjects and their wills. General will may direct the state to achieve the goals of the common good, and sovereignty is indivisible and inalienable (Halsall).

Though Rousseau believed that rationality and morality were only possible in a civil society, he also believed in a man retaining his individual freedom and not losing his individual power, which gives a mixed message as to how he would regard John's killing of the old man. On the one hand, being part of a civil society, with morality and rationality, he would be condemned, while on the other, exerting his own personal desires and power, he would be accepted for what he did.

Kant believed that good will constitutes the indispensable condition of being worthy of happiness, and that it embodies the sense of duty (Kant). He classified the principle of moral feeling under happiness because every empirical interest promises to contribute to our well-being and happiness that it brings, with or without profit involved. Anything done for reasons other than duty does not constitute good will, no matter who benefits from it, so this would mean Kant would disapprove of John's actions. His action was done because of his inclination to do so and not a duty to do so. There is a need to establish an a priori reason for moral action and judgments of the good, and there is none here, based on moral law (Zunjic). Kant was convinced it was wrong to decide what people ought to do based on what they actually did. He believed rational principles a


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Freedom in a 'State of Nature'. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 12:37, July 23, 2017, from
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