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Clarify Rousseau’s natural state. 


Explain the concept of ‘natural state’ propagated by Rousseau.

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‘Natural state’ propagated by Rousseau: 

Rousseau divides natural state into two phases: 

1. First Phase: 

In the first phase, the person was not conversant with the knowledge of selfishness and charity, and as such, he was free. His life was simple, and necessities were limited. In this state, an individual was happy, content, self reliant. Innocence was his basic attribute. He neither deceived fraud, nor cheated. He was unknown to the knowledge of morality. Rousseau describes this state of human as ‘noble savage’. 

2. Second phase: 

According to Rousseau, the above – mentioned natural state cannot last longer. Gradually, it deteriorated. The main reason of the fall was rise of private property. This made a person selfish and the goodness of the natural state ended. As a result, there emerged selfishness, violence, strife and malice. By virtue of the end of freedom and self-reliance, human life became unsafe.

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