Chapter

Nature's Garden

Mark S. Cladis

in Public Vision, Private Lives

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780195125542
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834082 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195125541.003.0002
 Nature's Garden

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Focuses on life in the Garden, or in what philosophers commonly call the state of nature. Its inhabitants – Rousseau's Solitaires, the imaginary human species that inhabited the state of nature – have as much to tell us about association as about solitude. Rousseau came to realize that alone, as radical solitaires, although we are protected from much pain, we can be neither truly happy nor moral. In the company of others, however, even as we seek to do good, we risk inflicting harm. Rousseau's response to this dilemma illuminates a salient feature of modern liberal society: the more we seek to do good, the more we risk doing evil; or, conversely, the more we avoid such risk, the more we dodge our moral obligations.

Keywords: evil; good; liberal; moral; radical solitaires; Rousseau; society; state of nature

Chapter.  5482 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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