In A Discourse on Inequality, Rousseau sets out to demonstrate how the growth of civilization corrupts man’s natural happiness and freedom by creating artificial inequalities of wealth, power and social privilege. Contending that primitive man was equal to his fellows, Rousseau believed that as societies become more sophisticated, the strongest and most intelligent members of the community gain an unnatural advantage over their weaker brethren, and that constitutions set up to rectify these imbalances through peace and justice in fact do nothing but perpetuate them. Rousseau’s political and social arguments in the Discourse were a hugely influential denunciation of the social conditions of his time and one of the most revolutionary documents of the eighteenth-century.
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Table Of Contents
A Discourse on InequalityForeword Introduction
Discourse on the Origins and Foundations of Inequality among Men
Rousseau’s Notes Abbreviations used in Editor’s Introduction and Notes Editor’s Notes
About Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) is the author of numerous political and philosophical texts as well as entries on music for Diderot’s Encyclopédie and the novels La nouvelle Héloïse and Émile.
Published by Penguin Classics Feb 05, 1985| 192 Pages| ISBN 9780140444391