chapter  6
A Similar Nature
Pages 26

Rousseau stressed the notion of 'Man' in nature and denigrated 'Man' in society. His defence is interesting because it equates moral sensibility with nature in a way which directly contradicts the Bentham-Kant equation of sensibility with society. According to Rousseau, the right and the good are indivisible from the natural, and individuals might only be properly human to the extent that they reconciled themselves with their similitude to all other living organic beings. From the perspective of the Demand for Similitude, society and social expectations are simply a pollution of the pure truth of nature. Social obligations are pretence, natural bonds are the truth. Like Rousseau, Monboddo believed that humans in the state of nature are mere animals. Natural law establishes individual duties towards animals. The proper human is the person who lives a natural life shaped by obligations of organic structure, not urban politics.