One of the more complex aspects of Rousseau’s philosophy is his interpretation of the citizen, which is analyzed in this essay in relation to the philosophy of Hobbes. To start with, the way in which Rousseau reassembles Hobbes’ political theory is clear. In Discours sur l’inégalité, the Hobbesian "misperception" of natural man and civil man is criticized; in Économie politique, he refers to the political body as a living organism; and in the Manuscrit de Genève, Hobbes is opposed to Diderot. By contrast, in Du contrat social, Hobbes appears to be absent even with regard to the citizen and the pact. The present essay argues that even though he is not mentioned, the Du contrat social nonetheless still refers to Hobbes’ philosophy, especially regarding anthropology and social contract. However, this does not imply an interpretation of Rousseau’s philosophy from an exclusively Hobbesian perspective. Such a stance could potentially misinterpret the Contrat social and, in particular, the analysis of the citizen.
Keywords: Rousseau, Hobbes, citizen, social contract, freedom, subjection.