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Comtemp Pol Thought

by: Pierre Huel

Comtemp Pol Thought POL 119

Pierre Huel
GPA 3.56

Robert Taylor

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Robert Taylor
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This 1 page Class Notes was uploaded by Pierre Huel on Tuesday September 8, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to POL 119 at University of California - Davis taught by Robert Taylor in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 45 views. For similar materials see /class/187555/pol-119-university-of-california-davis in Political Science at University of California - Davis.

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Date Created: 09/08/15
Prompt Book IV of Emile details the birth of the social passions ie pity gratitude and sexual passion but provides seemingly different accounts of the order in which these passions are born Which if any of these passions is born rst Explain which of the social passions is prior to the others or if they are all born simultaneously explain why In the course of doing so be sure to entertain and criticize at least one alternative hypothesis JeanJacques Rousseau wishes for his pupil Emile to be a man that is both good for himself and good for others This is an arguably impossible task As Emile39s tutor Rousseau oversees this intense shift in the boy39s life This second birth 212 is a time where sexual passion gratuity and pity are actualized in the boy Each of the social sentiments are modifications of the original passion of self love 213 and have importance pertaining to Emile39s ability to be good for others Sexual passion is needed to link society together gratitude is required to understand the sentiment behind another39s actions and pity is needed in order to become sensitive Rousseau makes the case for each and leaves us with con icting reasons for each being the first Through analysis we find that because of the corrupting nature of sexual desire and the required empathy for gratitude Rousseau offers pity born out of our selflove as the initial social sentiment Although Rousseau notes a few possible reasons for sexual passion to come first he ultimately concludes that it should not be He sees that the first stirrings of curiosity are sexual in origin 218 This raises the possibility that sexual passion is the original social sentiment He says a child is supposed to view themselves in relation to things and a man is to view himself in relation to the rest of his species 214 Following he is no longer isolated thus in need ofa companion and from the need for a mistress is soon born the need for a friend 215 This leads us to believe that sexual desire will be the first to develop as it would be the bridge into society that would allow for the others 233 But Rousseau also notes the dangers in this ordering If sexual passion is to develop first in a youth corrupting behavior follows Rousseau sees those as impatient vindictive and wild since they put all their effort into one object 220 In this case without pity they would give anything to satisfy themselves The focus on this one object over all others attacks the imagination 220 Gratitude is also one of the social sentiments however Rousseau concludes it too should not come first He writes that we love ourselves to preserve ourselves and it follows immediately from the same sentiment that we love what preserves us 213 But gratitude cannot be the rst social sentiment for it requires understanding the intentions behind actions of another This ability is not yet available in children who are often not even aware of what they need 65 therefore it would be impossible for them to be thankful for it Gratitude requires that Emile supplicates himself toward another and at this time Emile is not capable of doing so Our natural selflove would prevent this step until we have gained the understanding of the relative suffering of others For in order to be gracious he needs to identify the fact that the other has to some extent sacrificed for him Gratitude as Rousseau notes is a natural sentiment and it will be born out of the recognition of the value of your care but at this point he is unable to understand it 234 On further reading Rousseau champions pity as the sentiment prior to the others for it man s weakness which makes him sociable 221 As the tutor he will in uence Emile39s passions toward pity as it can be used as a tool for building a healthy ego Rousseau sees pity as sweet for putting ourselves in the place of the one who suffers we nevertheless feel the pleasure of not suffering as he does 221 Children and teenagers know about suffering but at first do not fully understand that other beings suffer too Selflove the original passion tells us to love ourselves and in doing so we acknowledge our sufferings Pity is the transplantation of recognition of suffering into another person When he first compares himselfwith others selflove is transformed into amour propre relative self love 235 Rousseau sees this as where all other passions rise and determining point of whether he will be humane and gentle or cruel and malignant 235 Pity allows him to be touched and not hardened by human miseries 231 and the sensitivity allows for tender and affectionate passions 220 Therefore Rousseau has shown us that pity is to be the first social sentiment in Emile in order to try and achieve the goal of making him good for himself and good for others


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