This translation by Ian Johnston of Malaspina University-College, Nanaimo, BC, has certain copyright restrictions. For information please use the following link: Copyright. For comments or question please contact Ian Johnston.
In this text, the explanatory notes which appear at the end of the document are provided by the translator. The presence of such notes is indicated by an asterisk in the text which links to the relevant note. Rousseau’s notes—indicated by an Arabic numeral in brackets in the text—also appear at the conclusion of the main text. The numerals link directly to the appropriate note. Editorial insertions into the text by the translator are indicated by square brackets, e.g., [inserted comment]. Some of Rousseau's longer paragraphs have been divided up into shorter units.
Where Rousseau has provided a Latin quotation, this text has the English translation, with a link to the original Latin in the footnote.
If you would like to print this translation as a small booklet for class room distribution, please consult the following link: Publisher Files.
For an introductory lecture on Rousseau's Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, use this link: Rousseau.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), the very famous French philosopher and writer, prepared his Discourse on Inequality (also called the Second Discourse) as an entry in a competition organized by the Academy of Dijon in 1754. He had won first prize in a previous competition (in 1750) with his Discourse on the Sciences and the Arts (the First Discourse), a victory which had helped to make him famous. The Second Discourse did not fare so well in the contest.
When the Second Discourse was published again in 1782, Rousseau inserted a few short minor additions into the text. These are included here but are not indicated.
Discourse on the Origin and the... [continues]
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