In political philosophy, the general will (French: volonté générale) is the will of the people as a whole. The term was made famous by 18th-century Genevan philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

What did Rousseau mean by general will?

The general will, (French, volonté generale) first enunciated by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (June 28, 1712 – July 2, 1778), is a concept in political philosophy referring to the desire or interest of a people as a whole. It is most often associated with socialist traditions in politics.

What are the features of general will?

According to Rousseau, when a question is put up before the people, then every individual mulls over the issue as per his choice and wisely and through the exchange of thoughts, by way of exchange of dialogue among the people, selfish desire gets suppressed, and there appears a formation of’General Will’.

Who gave the concept of general will?

The general will is central to the political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and an important concept in modern republican thought. Rousseau distinguished the general will from the particular and often contradictory wills of individuals and groups.

How is the general will formed?

The law is the expression of the general will. All citizens have the right to contribute personally, or through their representatives, to its formation.

What is the difference between general will and the individual will?

Each individual has his own particular will that expresses what is best for him. The general will expresses what is best for the state as a whole.

What is the difference between the general will and the will of all?

The general will is the will of the sovereign: it aims at the common good and it is expressed in the laws. The will of all is simply the aggregate of the particular wills of each individual.

Who considered general will as sovereign?

6). Rousseau’s general will was confined to the limits of the state. “The general will is always right,” claimed Rousseau. His statement has often been taken to imply a kind of mystical popular will in whose name the force of the state can be exercised.

What happens if someone decides not to obey the general will?

What happens to those who refuse to obey the general will? Those who disobey the general will must be compelled to obey it. They must be forced to be free.

Is general will fallible?

whether the general will is fallible



Our will is always for our own good, but we do not always see what that is; the people is never corrupted, but it is often deceived, and on such occasions only does it seem to will what is bad.

What is actual will and real will?

Actual will is transient, unstable and inconsistent; it changes from moment to moment. Real will is stable, constant, consistent and determinate. Man’s freedom consists in overcoming his actual will and following the direction of the real will. Real will expresses his true freedom.

Can the general will ever be wrong?

By definition, the general will can never be wrong; for when something contrary to the general interest is expressed, it is defined as the mere “will of all” and cannot have emanated from the sovereign.

Who believed that sovereignty vested in the general will?

Popular sovereignty in its modern sense is an idea that dates to the social contracts school (mid-17th to mid-18th centuries), represented by Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679), John Locke (1632–1704), and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778), author of The Social Contract, a prominent political work that clearly highlighted the

What was the general will according to Rousseau quizlet?

The will of the sovereign that aims at the common good. Each individual has his own particular will that expresses what is best for him. The general will expresses what is best for the state as a whole.

What is the meaning of this statement that the general will never err?

General Will cannot err with specific regard to Rousseau’s work. As Rousseau says this about. the General Will means that it is likely a correct conclusion if only regarding his own works.

What was Rousseau’s view on human nature?

Rousseau proclaimed the natural goodness of man and believed that one man by nature is just as good as any other. For Rousseau, a man could be just without virtue and good without effort. According to Rousseau, man in the state of nature was free, wise, and good and the laws of nature were benevolent.

What is Rousseau’s state of nature?


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What is the difference between the general will and the will of all?

The general will is the will of the sovereign: it aims at the common good and it is expressed in the laws. The will of all is simply the aggregate of the particular wills of each individual.

What is the difference between general will and the individual will?

Each individual has his own particular will that expresses what is best for him. The general will expresses what is best for the state as a whole.

Who considered general will as sovereign?

6). Rousseau’s general will was confined to the limits of the state. “The general will is always right,” claimed Rousseau. His statement has often been taken to imply a kind of mystical popular will in whose name the force of the state can be exercised.

What is actual will and real will?

Actual will is transient, unstable and inconsistent; it changes from moment to moment. Real will is stable, constant, consistent and determinate. Man’s freedom consists in overcoming his actual will and following the direction of the real will. Real will expresses his true freedom.

Is general will fallible?

whether the general will is fallible



Our will is always for our own good, but we do not always see what that is; the people is never corrupted, but it is often deceived, and on such occasions only does it seem to will what is bad.

What was the general will according to Rousseau quizlet?

The will of the sovereign that aims at the common good. Each individual has his own particular will that expresses what is best for him. The general will expresses what is best for the state as a whole.

What is Rousseau’s concept of the social contract?

Rousseau’s central argument in The Social Contract is that government attains its right to exist and to govern by “the consent of the governed.” Today this may not seem too extreme an idea, but it was a radical position when The Social Contract was published.

What are the consequences if one would not conform to the general will?

Rousseau put it this way: “Whoever refuses to obey the general will shall be constrained to do so by the whole body, which means nothing other than that he shall be forced to be free.” So that all sounds fair. The law will be made by the general will of the people. The law is in the best interests of the people.

How does Rousseau define sovereign?

Rousseau uses the term ‘sovereign’ as a. label for the person holding the supreme power in a state. This confirms the fundamental. notion of sovereignty: that a sovereign has absolute and inalienable power overs its subjects. (Rousseau, 1994, Book 1, Chapter 6).

What are the 3 main points of Rousseau’s social contract?

Thus, three stages described by Rousseau, are investigated: (a) the state of nature, where man is free and independent, (b) society, in which man is oppressed and dependent on others, and (c) the state under the Social Contract, in which, ironically, man becomes free through obligation; he is only independent through

Can the general will ever be wrong?

By definition, the general will can never be wrong; for when something contrary to the general interest is expressed, it is defined as the mere “will of all” and cannot have emanated from the sovereign.

What does Rousseau say about death?

Rousseau supports the death penalty, arguing that the sovereign has the right to determine whether its subjects should live or die. His strongest reason for this position is the claim that wrongdoers, in violating the laws of the state, are essentially violating the social contract.

What was Rousseau’s famous quote?

People who know little are usually great talkers, while men who know much say little.” “I prefer liberty with danger than peace with slavery.” “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.”

What was Jean-Jacques Rousseau thoughts on human rights?

In contrast, Rousseau’s insistence on the fundamental freedom of human beings in their “natural state” contributed to the modern notion that people have inalienable rights, regardless of their place in society.