Jean Jacques Rousseau's provocative Discourse on the Sciences and the Arts (1750) launched a vigorous assault on the most cherished beliefs of his age in a passionate indictment of civilized "progress," which, in Rousseau's eyes, has led to a debilitating corruption of human nature and morality. Four years later, Rousseau produced another such assault in the Discourse on the Origins and Foundations of Inequality Among Men. A landmark of political thought, this work argues that human beings are by nature free, happy, and independent, but that social institutions and human inventions have corrupted that condition and brought about all human misery. Many of the details of Rousseau's account are open to dispute, but the revolutionary impact of the argument is beyond doubt: by insisting that our understanding of modern society must be placed on a historical footing, Rousseau invites us to see social injustice and evil as products of pernicious social institutions--not permanent features of an unsatisfactory or fallen condition. He offers no clear solution to the evils he diagnoses, but the implication of his argument is clear: society's most serious problems are caused, not by human nature, but by social institutions, especially property; if we wish to address these problems, we must change those institutions. The unflagging passion, clarity, and rhetorical power of Rousseau's style have inspired many social reformers and revolutionaries. Even today, his words are still cited by those who wish to challenge just how free and happy our citizens are in a society that prides itself on economic and personal freedom and the pursuit of happiness.
A fascinating examination of the relationship between civilization and inequality from one of history’s greatest minds The first man to erect a fence around a piece of land and declare it his own founded civil society—and doomed mankind to millennia of war and famine. The dawn of modern civilization, argues Jean-Jacques Rousseau in this essential treatise on human nature, was also the beginning of inequality. One of the great thinkers of the Enlightenment, Rousseau based his work in compassion for his fellow man. The great crime of despotism, he believed, was the raising of the cruel above the weak. In this landmark text, he spells out the antidote for man’s ills: a compassionate revolution to pull up the fences and restore the balance of mankind. This ebook has been professionally proofread to ensure accuracy and readability on all devices.
[F]rom the moment one man began to stand in need of another's assistance; from the moment it appeared an advantage for one man to possess the quantity of provisions requisite for two, all equality vanished; property started up; labour became necessary; and boundless forests became smiling fields, which it was found necessary to water with human sweat, and in which slavery and misery were soon seen to sprout out and grow with the fruits of the earth. -from "Second Part" Was man better off before he invented "civil society"? From where does social inequality spring? Did the development of agriculture and technology doom most of humanity to an everlasting enslavement to the tiny minority of the wealthy and the strong? This 1754 essay, written in response to concepts of the "natural man" developed by philosopher Thomas Hobbes, explores such ideas, radical at the time and still considered such today. Rousseau's thoughts continue to be echoed, however, in modern philosophical movements from feminism to environmentalism, and ensure that his examination of the history of human civilization, in its broadest sense, remains vital today. Swiss philosopher JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU (1712-1778) was a dramatic influence on the French revolution, 19th-century communism, the American Founding Fathers, and much modern political thought. His works include Discourse on the Arts and Sciences (1750), Discourse on Political Economy (1755), and The Social Contract, Or Principles of Political Right (1762).
A powerful, passionate explanation of the roots of social inequality, Rousseau's Discourse influenced virtually every major philosopher of the Enlightenment. It remains among the 18th-century's most provocative and frequently studied works.
This influential study contrasts the government of ancient Rome with that of the author's 16th-century contemporaries. Topics include establishing a republic's internal structure, conducting warfare, and exhibiting leadership qualities.
Author : Jean-Jacques Rousseau
ISBN : UOM:39076001764765
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 50.36 MB
Format : PDF
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Includes the Second Discourse (complete with the author’s extensive notes), contemporary critiques by Voltaire, Diderot, Bonnet, and LeRoy, Rousseau’s replies (some never before translated), and Political Economy, which first outlined principles that were to become famous in the Social Contract. This is the first time that the works of 1755 and 1756 have been combined with careful commentary to show the coherence of Rousseau’s “political system.” The Second Discourse examines man in the true “state of nature,” prior to the formation of the first human societies, tracing the “hypothetical history” of political society and social inequality as they developed out of natural equality and independence.
Author : Jean-Jacques Rousseau
ISBN : 0521424453
Genre : History
File Size : 40.33 MB
Format : PDF, Docs
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The work of Jean-Jacques Rousseau is presented in two volumes, which together form the most comprehensive anthology of Rousseau's political writings in English. Volume I contains the earlier writings such as the First and Second Discourses. The American and French Revolutions were profoundly affected by Rousseau's writing, thus illustrating the scope of his influence. Volume II contains the later writings such as the Social Contract. The Social Contract was publicly condemned on publication causing Rousseau to flee. In exile he wrote both autobiographical and political works. These volumes contain comprehensive introductions, chronologies, and guides to further reading, and will enable students to fully understand the writings of one of the world's greatest thinkers.