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In your opinion, is this view consistent with Jean-Jacques Rousseau's ideas as expressed in The Social Contract?

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TMA 05 - Art History and Philosophy The feeling of another person should never be imposed upon us as a law, (Caspar David Friedrich, in Block 3,p.194) In your opinion, is this view consistent with Jean-Jacques Rousseau's ideas as expressed in The Social Contract? Friedrich's opinion that the feelings of another person should never be imposed upon us as a law differ from Rousseau who suggests that conforming to the general will is best for the individual and the whole of society. Rousseau states that for the greater good people will think and vote in a similar way, such as laws to protect society, therefore when people act and think for the benefit of society they are acting in the general will, the will of the people, and if they do not act in this way they should be forced to act in the general will. 'People should submit their will to the general will which cannot be wrong and whoever refused would be subject to compulsion, so to express the general will is to express every man's common will'. (In the words of Rousseau) The reason Rousseau argues that an individual's particular will is a product of appetite, therefore selfish. ...read more.


Rousseau explains that man can exist in two states, the state of nature and the civil state. The state of nature where the strongest take what they want, and therefore no one owns anything, as there will always be someone stronger who can take your possessions. While the Civil state allows agreed rules and laws to live by, for example proprietary ownership enabling individuals to keep their possessions stopping the strong taking from the weak. By then choosing to live within society, we choose to obey these rules and laws. Rousseau further suggests that we can live within this framework and yet still be free. By obeying the state whose authority is legitimate because it comes from the people, we are in fact only obeying ourselves even if forced to do so. Consider what evidence there is in Jacques-Louis David's paintings to show whether David would have agreed with Friedrich's statement. We need to understand that David was enthusiastic about the French Revolution and from 1789 participated in political life and in 1791 was elected a deputy of the Convention from Paris. In 1793 he voted for the death of Louis XVI and supported Robespierre, he was made a member of the Committee of Public Safety and artistic director (Davidbiography ) ...read more.


The impact on those viewing would have been dramatic, this man Marat, now immortalized, his body hung limp reminiscent of so many paintings of Christ on the cross would have been a very powerful image used as propaganda to influence people towards David's cause. Here David is once again imposing his thoughts and views onto others this time using patriotism. Whilst The Death of Socrates depicts a man who is willing to die for his beliefs, Socrates who was given the option to recant his beliefs or to commit suicide by drinking hemlock is seen reaching for the poison chalice while those around him are clearly distressed, yet Socrates defiant with his hand raised up as if to say I will never give up my beliefs and am willing to die for them; is once again sending a message that could influence those who may be waiving, here is a great man doing what is right. David produces works with the purpose to influence those who view it; he is imposing his ideology onto others, perhaps not in a forceful manner but more by subliminal methods similar to a modern day advertising executive. (A103 introduction to Humanities page 113) Davidbiography http://www.abcgallery.com/D/david/davidbio.html 29/05/05 (In the words of Rousseau http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_will 20/05/05) ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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