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Comparative intellectual trade essay example

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The enlightenment thinkers espoused the use of logic and reason over tradition, religion, culture and logic. The aim of enlightenment thinkers was to give a logical foundation to a philosophy. Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a prominent intellectual figure during the age of enlightenment. He is mostly recognized as a political theorist and philosopher. Rousseau’s first philosophical work won him a prize from the Academy of Dijon. This work was a critique on the fundamental propositions of the enlightenment. He questioned the nature of human inequality, whether it was “ natural”. Rousseau argued that the advancement of science and art led to a digression of human morality, instead of advancing human morality and virtue. He was also an accomplished musician. Following the publication of “ Emile” and “ The Social Contract”, which caused a lot of controversies, Rousseau fled to Switzerland. Rousseau’s political theory greatly influenced the French revolution, and the novel “ Julie or the New Heloise” influenced the Romanticism movement of literature. Rousseau was widely read in his time and influenced later philosophers such as Immanuel Kant.
Thomas Hobbes was an English philosopher and political theorist. Hobbes was mainly concerned with political and social order. His most read work is arguably “ Leviathan”. He posed the question of how humans (are to) live in peace and harmony, avoiding conflict and civil disorder. He says that a society should accept as its sole authority an unaccountable sovereign. The alternative system to this is that of “ a state of nature”-where fear of violent death is pervasive and rewarding human cooperation is impossible. Hobbes is considered the father of modern political philosophy. Hobbes was a mechanist-he believed that everything operates on rules and principles of physical movement; therefore, the physical movement of objects would be enough to understand everything. Hobbes was also a materialist, believing that humans were just complex machines operating under the natural laws of movement. According to Hobbes, free will existed only in the sense that human actions are not under the control of some else. He espoused an animalistic view of human nature, where the individual lives and acts independently and for his self-interest. Hobbes’ political theory remains influential today because it sets down a philosophy of political theory and thought, unlike Machiavelli before him.

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