Discuss and illustrate the ways in which any two thinkers you have studied in the module shed light on contemporary political issues.

POLITICAL THEORIES

ROUSSEAU:

Rousseau was a philosophe and an enemy of philosophy, a rationalist and a romantic, a sensualist and a puritan, and an apologist for religion who attacked dogma and denied original sin, an admirer of the natural and uninhibited and the author of an absolutist theory of the State,” (Plamenatz, 1963, p.364). He was not a mere political theorist although his political philosophy perhaps remain the most authentic and relevant in every age. Rousseau’s political theory starts with assuming that man once lived outside the society; but he ridicules the idea of man deliberately entering into a social contract in the light of ‘laws of nature’ for the simple reason that people were unaware of society. He put forward the idea that ‘man becomes a moral being only in the process of adapting himself to life in society.’ This could also imply that there is no morality outside the society. “In that sense, Robinson Crusoe, alone in his island, had no rights or obligations,” (Plamenatz, p. 366). He was always attracted to new concepts and innovative ideas, which he wove into his political and social theories even though later thinkers criticised him to be illogical. According to Plamenatz, ‘Since he cared little for logical consistency, he felt no need to do so.’ Rousseau said men were ‘transformed’ by the society to the extent that it was difficult for people to imagine living outside the society, even though morality that man had to pursue for being in the society was frustrating their ambitions.
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