Revisiting the Garden's Solitaires

Mark S. Cladis

in Public Vision, Private Lives

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780195125542
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834082 | DOI:
 Revisiting the Garden's Solitaires

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Explores in detail why neither happiness nor virtue can take root in Rousseau's account of the state of nature. The Solitaires are moral insofar as they do no harm (and hence they could be considered moral compared to the nasty and brutish creatures that populated Thomas Hobbes's state of nature); yet Rousseau was not satisfied with such minimal notions of morality, and hence I argue that his Solitaires should ultimately be considered amoral. And if happiness pertains not only to the satisfaction of needs but also to the quality or nature of them, then the Solitaire's tranquil psychology is not a sufficient condition for human happiness.

Keywords: Hobbes; human happiness; minimal decency; nature of morality; Rousseau; Solitaire; state of nature

Chapter.  4384 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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