chapter  8
16 Pages

Citizenship, humanity and cosmopolitan harm conventions

Social contract theorists in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries maintained that the establishment of sovereign communities abolished the dangers inherent in the original state of nature. Rebutting this contention, and anticipating Kant’s contention that Grotius, Pufendorf and Vattel were ‘miserable comforters’, Rousseau argued that higher levels of violence and human misery resulted from the transition to civil society: with the appearance of war between states, more died in a single day’s fighting than in whole centuries in the state of nature. By becoming citizens of separate states, individuals became enemies of the rest of humankind (Rousseau 1970: 132).