Document Type : Research Paper


Professor; Faculty Member of Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies


The mainstream approach in interpreting the Rousseau's political philosophy stipulates the understanding of Rousseau to the understanding of his "essential distinction" from Hobbes and Lock. Therefore, in this approach, the understanding of the modern idea of citizenship which underwent a fundamental evolution through Rousseau's philosophy is dependent on the understanding of that "essential distinction". But, we should not ignore the tight relationship between the Rousseau's political philosophy and Hobbes's new political design, in spite of its complexity and multilayered character. In fact, Rousseau like his modern predecessors confirms that human being in naturally a political and that for analyzing human condition we must begin with the idea of "individual". In this article, our purpose is to show that the understanding of Rousseau's political philosophy and thereby understanding of the idea of citizenship in Rousseau's thought is comprehensible more through the development and the radicalization of Hobbes's idea of the individual than through the "essential distinction". According to our reasoning the idea of "the individual possessed unconditional right in the state of nature" as the foundation of the new approach to politics is just the same idea hinders us to take this "distinction" into account as an "essential" one. Therefore, the fact that distinguishes Rousseauian citizenship from Hobbesian citizenship is the development and the radicalization of Hobbesian premises. This can lead to the conception of citizenship turned into second nature of the modern man.  


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