Adam Ferguson An Essay on the History of Civil Society …
The object of this Essay is to assert one very simple principle, as entitled to govern absolutely the dealings of society with the individual in the way of compulsion and control, whether the means used be physical force in the form of legal penalties, or the moral coercion of public opinion. That principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil in case he do otherwise. To justify that, the conduct from which it is desired to deter him, must be calculated to produce evil to some one else. The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.
Rousseau The Origin of Civil Society by A Sanghrajka on ..
of this Essay is not the so-called Liberty of the Will, so unfortunately opposed to the misnamed doctrine of Philosophical Necessity; but Civil, or Social Liberty: the nature and limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual. A question seldom stated, and hardly ever discussed, in general terms, but which profoundly influences the practical controversies of the age by its latent presence, and is likely soon to make itself recognised as the vital question of the future. It is so far from being new, that, in a certain sense, it has divided mankind, almost from the remotest ages; but in the stage of progress into which the more civilized portions of the species have now entered, it presents itself under new conditions, and requires a different and more fundamental treatment.
Not the least interesting part of his essay is a sketch of the possible strategy whereby the literate and educated elements of the population might guide the masses or create a rival power to them. He believed that an effective civilization is possible only through the capacity of individuals to combine for common ends. Combination, as in trade unions and benefit societies, had already made the workers more powerful. Combination and compromise also could enlarge the influence of the literate middle class, demolish old barriers between all classes, and extend the range of law and justice. English educational institutions were imperfectly organized for their task, and he feared the advent of democracy before the people were sufficiently educated and ready to shoulder their responsibilities. He censured the ancient English universities for failing to make the present rulers grasp what had to be done in reform to avoid the worst features of mass domination. In pursuing narrow sectarian ends, as in the exclusion of Dissenters, the universities were ignoring political realities. They must moreover extend their scope to serve a larger proportion of the population, and at the same time sponsor more through research in the manner of the German universities.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Wikipedia
In 1750, Rousseau became famous almost overnight for his prize-winning essay submitted for competition on the topic of whether the arts and sciences had contributed to purify morals. In this systematic treatment of critical questions on the arts, sciences, and society, Rousseau stated that the arts and sciences ("arts" as used here included liberal arts, fine arts, and mechanical arts) had tended to corrupt society, a viewpoint that he acknowledged as contrary to general opinion ( ). But he did not pretend to have idealistic views of going back in time. This essay marked a decisive point in his life and work-the beginning of a continual and systematic questioning of social issues. This questioning eventually led to his break with urban society in 1756 and the eventual production of the works for which he is most famous.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
This essay goes beyond Rousseau's writing on the mechanical arts and represents Rousseau in light of his broader interests as they relate to the heritage of technology education. These interests will be elaborated in the following three sections: (a) experimentation, (b) systematic knowledge, and (c) the relationships among education, mechanical arts, and society.
Rousseau and Locke - Constitutional Rights Foundation
Rousseau's text on a flying machine was not an exposition of his educational ideas but of a systematic approach to solving a complex problem. That problem might fit into certain technology education programs today, but not into traditional industrial arts programs. The problem of flying required experimentation and systematic knowledge, and prompted reflection on the relationships between society and what we now call "technology." This essay shows that Rousseau modeled these interests in a way that would not be incompatible with ideas in technology education today. But first, the work of Rousseau needs to be placed briefly in the context of the history of education.