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Day 56 – Q 3.Examine the contributions of early French philosophers in the field of democratic thoughts and principles.

3. Examine the contributions of early French philosophers in the field of democratic thoughts and principles. 

लोकतांत्रिक विचारों और सिद्धांतों के क्षेत्र में शुरुआती फ्रांसीसी दार्शनिकों के योगदान की जांच करें।


Early French philosophers were critical in articulating the ideas of democracy, liberty and rule of law. This lead to the ‘Age of Reason’ or Enlightenment. Enlightenment thinkers in France questioned traditional authority and embraced the notion that humanity could be improved through rational change.


Different ideas by philosophers and thinkers in the field of democratic thoughts and principles – 

  • Hobbes’s social contract – Hobbes argued that the supreme power must be vested in a single authority to make laws and in return, the people get their rights.
  • Rousseau – He emphasized on liberty and said that social agreement should be based on liberty and general will.
  • Voltaire – He propounded the idea of tolerance, freedom of speech and religious beliefs.
  • Montesquieu –Idea of separation of power to prevent the consolidation of power in a single organ of the government. The separation of power became the base of the U.S. constitution and the theme in democracy as ‘Checks and balances’.
  • Locke’s natural rights – Locke criticized the monarchy and supported the idea of self-government, life, liberty and property. Locke’s idea of the Government by popular consent inspired the struggles for liberty in Europe and America.
  • Ideas about the rule of law have been central to political and legal thought since at least the 4th century BCE, when Aristotle distinguished “the rule of law” from “that of any individual.”
  • Auguste ComteHe was the founder of the discipline of sociology and the doctrine of positivism. Comte developed the positive philosophy in an attempt to remedy the social malaise of the French revolution, calling for a new social paradigm based on the sciences. Comte offered an account of social evolution, proposing that society undergoes three phases in its quest for the truth according to a general ‘law of three stages’. Comte’s stages were – the theological, the metaphysical, and the positive.


French philosophy, here taken to mean philosophy in the French language, has been extremely diverse and has influenced Western philosophy as a whole for centuries

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