Originally Posted by Florian
Rousseau argued that the desire for food and sex by themselves would not be the cause of belligerence or bellicosity in primitive human beings. In the absence of any degree of civilization (=no language, no agriculture, no division of labor, no tools, no weapons---nothing at all except what nature has given us: the desire to conserve ourselves and natural pity according to Rousseau), food and sex would be relatively easy to obtain and would not entail the Hobbesian "war of all against all."
Thanks for the clarification. I misunderstood your post and thought you were making the opposite point, that civilization eliminates aggression over food and sex. In any event, I think Rousseau's argument falls apart because of a fundamental misassumption: since primitive man wasn't giving birth and nursing infants, there WAS a division of labor: between men and women. It is this division of labor, the biology that undergirds it, and the practical implications for survival and interpersonal relations that it entails (aka differential reproduction) that precludes Rousseau's vision of primitive humans from ever having been a reality. Differential reproduction is the root of all evil; both the differential reproductive potential between men and women and the differential reproductive potential between individual men. Show me a world where total reproductive potential and investment in offspring are equivalent for all, and I'll show you Rousseau's world.