Discourse on the origin and foundations of inequality

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discourse on the origin and foundations of inequality

Discourse on the Sciences and the Arts and Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality Among Men Quotes by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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Discourse on Inequality

A Discourse Upon the Origin and Foundation of the Inequality Among Mankind

His education was irregular, and though he tried many professions - including engraving, music, and teaching - he found it difficult to support himself in any of them. The discovery of his talent as a writer came with the winning of a prize offered by the Academy of Dijon for a discourse on the question, "Whether the progress of the sciences and of letters has tended to corrupt or to elevate morals. The discourse here printed on the causes of inequality among men was written in a similar competition. He now concentrated his powers upon literature, producing two novels, "La Nouvelle Heloise," the forerunner and parent of endless sentimental and picturesque fictions; and "Emile, ou l'Education," a work which has had enormous influence on the theory and practise of pedagogy down to out own time and in which the Savoyard Vicar appears, who is used as the mouthpiece for Rousseau's own religious ideas. Both historically and philosophically it is unsound; but it was the chief literary source of the enthusiasm for liberty, fraternity, and equality, which inspired the leaders of the French Revolution, and its effects passed far beyond France. His most famous work, the "Confessions," was published after his death. This book is a mine of information as to his life, but it is far from trustworthy; and the picture it gives of the author's personality and conduct, though painted in such a way as to make it absorbingly interesting, is often unpleasing in the highest degree.

General Summary

HOWEVER, copyright law varies in other countries, and the work may still be under copyright in the country from which you are accessing this website. It is your responsibility to check the applicable copyright laws in your country before downloading this work., Jean Jacques Rousseau , Helena Rosenblatt. The Bedford Series in History and Culture.

The aim of the Discourse is to examine the foundations of inequality among men, and to determine whether this inequality is authorized by natural law. Rousseau attempts to demonstrate that modern moral inequality, which is created by an agreement between men, is unnatural and unrelated to the true nature of man. To examine natural law, Rousseau argues, it is necessary to consider human nature and to chart how that nature has evolved over the centuries to produce modern man and modern society. To do this, he begins in the imaginary state of nature, a condition before society and the development of reason. Discarding the Biblical account of human creation and development, Rousseau attempts to conjecture, or guess, what man in this state would be like.

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