The Myth of Primal Individualism

There’s something that liberal theorists Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau all have in common–their theories about how societies should be organised or came to be organised are based on the notion that primal man was fiercely independent and had no social obligations, that he had to consciously decide, initially to exit this individualist state and choose to be part of a society or community. Today we know that early man was from the outset tribal–community was with us from the start. What implications does this have for these theorists? That is what I would like to discuss today.

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