“… that in every individual the general will is a pure act of understanding that reasons in the silence of the passions about what man can demand of his fellow man and about what his fellow man has the right to demand of him; (3) that this attention to the general will of the species and to shared wants is the rule of conduct to one individual relative to another in the same society, of an individual toward a society in which he is a member, and of the society of which he is a member toward other societies”
I chose Diderot’s “Natural Law” because of the extensive repetition of his words which made the passage difficult to comprehend at first glance. I also chose it because I felt like it related to Locke’s central theme that all humans have the right to have a natural freedom over themselves. By relating this passage to Locke, I started to understand the passage more and realized that both authors are technically implying the same thing, that each human has the right to the freedoms of their own body and how they share that with society. I think that Diderot is trying to further expand on Locke’s definition of “Natural Law,” in which everyone has the right to be their own person, make their own decisions, have equal rights, and help out their fellow man. I feel like this relates back to the topic of identity which we touched on in class. Diderot touches on the topic by addressing how we can use our identity to make the world a better place for ourselves and others, and how each individual has a place in society to make it work as a team. By embodying an identity which makes one’s presence a helpful and respectful one, Diderot’s expectations of “Natural Law” is obtained.