Discourse on the Origin of Inequality

Discourse on the Origin of Inequality

by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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In his Discourses (1755), Rousseau argues that inequalities of rank, wealth, and power are the inevitable result of the civilizing process. If inequality is intolerable - and Rousseau shows with unparalledled eloquence how it robs us not only of our material but also of our psychological independence - then how can we recover the peaceful self-sufficiency of life in the state of nature? We cannot return to a simpler time, but measuring the costs of progress may help us to imagine alternatives to the corruption and oppressive conformity of modern society.
Rousseau's sweeping account of humanity's social and political development epitomizes the innovative boldness of the Englightment, and it is one of the most provocative and influential works of the eighteenth century. This new translation includes all Rousseau's own notes, and Patrick Coleman's introduction builds on recent key scholarship, considering particularly the relationship between political and aesthetic thought.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9788026885016
Publisher: e-artnow
Publication date: 03/25/2018
Sold by: Bookwire
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 63
Sales rank: 995,309
File size: 422 KB

About the Author

Franklin Philip is the prize-winning translator of numerous French texts. Patrick Coleman is the author of Rousseau's Political Imagination (1984).

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Discourse on the Origin of Inequality (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading) 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
HistReader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have read that Rousseau's writings provided a basis for Karl Marx's beliefs; it is obviously true after reading Discourse on the Origin of Inequality.Although this text is heavily in the camp of communal, "I am my brother's keeper", modern economy has ruined man's nature, Rousseau comes through with a smattering of lines which any of America's Founding Fathers could have written. As a philosopher, and one not originally writing in English, Rousseau pens a comprehensible and easily read book. His arguments, however one may agree or disagree with, are neither convoluted nor flimsy; he proves his beliefs with profound insight. But again, his conclusions may not be completely correct or agreeable to all, they are instrumental in the foundation of any government.
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