Jean Jacques Rousseau 's Discourse On The Origin Of Inequality

1814 Words Nov 6th, 2016 8 Pages
In this paper I am going to summarize Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s “Discourse on the Origin of Inequality” in which Rousseau theorizes that inequality is not a natural event, but an unfortunate byproduct of modern life. I will then provide a criticism of Rousseau’s argument, focusing on his decision to not discuss the relationship between natural and moral inequality. This criticism will then be countered by a theorized response from Rousseau’s perspective. The general argument presented by Rousseau is that the establishment of civil society and the associated progress of humanity is the underlying cause for the inequality between men. His answer to questions regarding the inequality of men, and the necessary supporting information, is presented over a series of three segments, beginning with a preface that is then followed by two separate parts comprising “Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality Among Men”. Rousseau uses the preface as an opportunity to breakdown the overarching question about inequality to a more basic point: how can we judge the inequality of man if we do not truly understand man? Rousseau’s stance is that the modern man as we know him is very different than the “natural man”, having become significantly more complex and less in tune with his natural instincts. A similar point is made regarding the concepts of natural law and natural right. Natural right is perceived as the right to have or do something simply because one exists and natural…

Related Documents