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Rousseau's ideas in the context of naturalism | Naturalism of Rousseau


Describe Rousseau's ideas in the context of naturalism


What is the meaning of 'return to nature' according to Rousseau? 


Naturalism of Rousseau

According to Rousseau, “All things in the world come in good and beautiful form from the creator of nature. They get contaminated as soon as they come into human hands. Rousseau was deeply saddened by the social system and prevailing evils and he gave the message of returning to nature to remove the prevalent artificiality. 

According to him, various arts and institutions of the society make a person's life artificial and lead him to downfall. The primitive man was happier than today's civilized man, because he lived a natural life. Even today man can get rid of all the sufferings if he starts following the laws of nature. Rousseau's slogan was- 'Man, if you return to nature, you will be well.'

Rousseau thought that the child should be kept far away from the society, otherwise social evils will come in him. He did not understand that the protection of the child from social evils can be done not only by keeping him separate from the society, but also on the strength of feelings like love, cooperation, sacrifice etc. 

Pestalozzi believed in the love of man and society as the basis of social reform. Rousseau did not get happiness from society and family. He got only suffering, so he had hatred towards the society.


Rousseau was a supporter of anti-social ideas. Social foundations were not the basis of his education. From his book called 'Social Contract', he opines that development of new civilization is not possible by following correct political principles. He was a staunch opponent of the prevailing schools of education of that time. He considers human-possible as the basis of education. He imagines such a 'man of naturalism' who develops freely according to his nature and stays away from social traditions even though he is uncivilized. 

According to Rousseau, natural education is given to the child only when its nature is known. But to find out the nature of the child is not an easy task. 

Rousseau says- “We have to decide whether to be a man or a citizen and fight against the forces of nature and society. We cannot be both human beings and citizens at the same time. He wants to make Emile a man, Does not want to make any citizen or social person. 

Rousseau's opposition was probably natural considering the circumstances that existed in the eighteenth century.


According to Rousseau, it is foolish to develop depending on the ideas and experiences of others or society. One should act on the basis of his nature, his nature and nature. The experiences of others are harmful and unnatural or unnatural. We should work according to our nature, nature and inner feeling. He did not think it right to inculcate any habit in the child. In fact, 'the habit of not making any habit' is appropriate for the development of the child. 

According to Rousseau, one should not be a slave to any habit. A person should do whatever comes to his mind, there is happiness in this.

Rousseau loved nature, that is why he advises everyone to return to nature. The child gets spoiled by coming in contact with human beings and society. But the organism improves by coming in contact with animals, plants etc. Rousseau considers the city as the grave of mankind both morally and physically. 

According to him, the society is tyrannical so the afflicted person prefers to live in solitude. Due to these beliefs, Rousseau wants to keep the child completely separate from the society and its culture and wants to give him a free opportunity for development by keeping him in the natural environment. 

In the eyes of the people, Rousseau's naturalism was better than the inequality, evil, exploitation prevailing in the society. As a result of this: Education could become child-centred.


Naturalism of Rousseau and Education

Rousseau's idea was that it is right to teach a child considering him as a child, but it is not right to teach him as an adult. There is a difference between the needs of an adult and a child. That's why the education of both cannot be the same. Education will be useful only when it suits the nature of the person (child). 

First the nature or nature of the child should be known, only then its education should be arranged. The education given in schools is useless because it is not according to the nature of the children, it is imposed on them. A child should not be made to grow up by imposing knowledge, rather he should be allowed to remain a child until he himself grows up. 

According to Rousseau, education is that which brings about the natural development of the child's organs and innate powers. “First understand the nature of the child and his needs, then make natural education for him. An education given according to nature will be most useful to the child.

Educational Philosophy of Plato