Law, Property and the Rule of Law: A Theoretical Perspectives (Part-II)


  • Syed Bulent Sohail


E. Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 – 1778) (i) A critic of bourgeois society: Rousseau‟s Discourses113 and Social Contract (published in 1762) posed more acutely than Hobbes, Locke and Montesquieu the contradictions of civil society: Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains. One thinks himself the master of others, and still remains a greater slave than they. How did this change come about? I do not know. What can make it legitimate? That question I think I can answer.114 From the very outset the tenor of Rousseau‟s reasoning is dialectic in that he recognizes more than any classical thinker before him the contradictions of civil society as being based on inequality as a fundamental premise. It is perhaps for this reason that some critics of Rousseau label him as a counter-Enlightenment thinker and also perhaps why Marxist writers (such as Lucio Colletti) give Rousseau the credit of formulating the first modern critique of bourgeois society.115