Discourse on the origin of inequality

People interested in political philosophy Recommended to David by: Some Guy on the internet Why rulers are rulers and why we serve them 18 January I found this book an interesting read and it does has some interesting concepts. Mind you, it is interesting to see such a discourse written over one hundred years before Darwin wrote his Origin of the Speciesand it appears that Darwin has borrowed from this text.

Discourse on the origin of inequality

Table of Contents Sparknotes Introduction Rousseau's Discourse on Inequality is one of the most powerful critiques of modernity ever written. It attempts to trace the psychological and political effects of modern society on human nature, and to show how these effects were produced.

General Summary

In order to do this, Rousseau demonstrates that human evolution and the development of inequality between men are closely related. The result is both a sweeping explanation of how modern man was created, and a sharp criticism of unequal modern political institutions. In the Discourse, Rousseau diagnoses the problem with modern political institutions that he later attempted to resolve in the Social Contract.

The Discourse was originally written as an entry for an essay competition run by the Dijon academy of Arts and Sciences in The essay question was "What is the origin of inequality among men, and is it authorized by the natural law? He failed to win a prize with this second discourse, but its publication brought him widespread praise, and an important place in history of philosophy.

The Discourse on Inequality is a powerful, passionate argument, which is dazzlingly written and broad in scope. Its methodology is brilliant and daring.

Rousseau: On the Origin of Inequality: First Part

Rousseau attempts to trace man back to his natural state, discarding the authority of the biblical account. At heart, though, the Discourse is a daring guess, an exercise in conjecture and reconstruction. Although the Discourse is closely related to eighteenth-century debates about the nature of man, and about different forms of government, it also has a wider significance.

It is important because Rousseau asks questions about who we are and what we want—questions that still apply today. Rousseau's central idea, that modern people exist within an ever-increasing system of needs in which the opinion of others is vitally important, is hugely influential.

Traces of it can be found in Hegel's idea of civil society, and in Marx's description of the alienated worker.

Rousseau: On the Origin of Inequality

More importantly, it is evident in our lives. When you look in the mirror to check your appearance, or wonder about how popular you are, or what your friends think of you, you are taking part in a process described perfectly by Rousseau.

The idea that modern life is imperfect and unequal was not an idea invented by Rousseau, but he presents a fascinating argument for how inequality came to manifest itself. Almost every major philosopher in the eighteenth century, as well as many thousands of ordinary people, read the Discourse.

Anyone who wants to understand the eighteenth, or indeed the twentieth, century, should read it too.A Discourse Upon the Origin and the Foundation of the Inequality among Mankind Jean- Jacques Rousseau Introductory Note Jean Jacques Rousseau was born at Geneva, June 28, , the son of a watchmaker of French.

The Discourse on the Origin of Inequality traces the history of human beings from the pure state of nature through the institution of a specious social contract that results in present day civil society.

Discourse on the origin of inequality

a discourse on a subject proposed by the academy of dijon: what is the origin of inequality among men, and is it authorised by natural law? jean jacques rousseau.


A Dissertation On the Origin and Foundation of The Inequality of Mankind and is it Authorised by Natural Law? IT is of man that I have to speak; and the question I am investigating shows me that it is to men that I must address myself: for questions of this sort are not asked by those who are afraid to honour truth.

The problem with reading Rousseau’s ‘Discourse on Inequality’ more than years after its composition is that the content alternately seems obvious, because it had such influence on subsequent work, and archaic, because so much has been superceded/5.

By Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Basic Political Writings: Discourse on the Sciences & the Arts, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, Discourse on Political Economy, On the Social Contract, The State of War (2nd Revised edition) ().

Discourse on Inequality - Wikipedia