A Discourse on Inequality(Rico Man)

Topics: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, State of nature, Discourse on Inequality Pages: 4 (1459 words) Published: April 23, 2001
Report On "A Discourse On Inequality", By Jean Jacques Rousseau

In Rousseau's book "A Discourse On Inequality", he looks into the question of where the general inequality amongst men came from. Inequality exists economically, structurally, amongst different generations, genders, races, and in almost all other areas of society. However, Rousseau considers that there are really two categories of inequality. The first is called Natural/Physical, it occurs as an affect of nature. It includes inequalities of age,, health, bodily strength, and the qualities of the mind and soul. The second may be called Moral/Political inequality, this basically occurs through the consent of men. This consists of the privileges one group may have over another, such as the rich over the poor.

Rousseau came to the conclusion that the best way to examine the inequality in society is to examine the beginning of mankind itself. He tried to imagine the early state of man assuming there was ever actually a state where man existed only with the nature, in a solitary, and primitive lifestyle. He did not however revert as far back to the idea of the Neanderthal man to examine the ideas man held and where they came from. Instead, he looked at a state where man looked, and seemed to have the same physical abilities as he does today. Rousseau also concedes that a time where the ideas of government, ownership, justice, and injustice did not exist may not have ever existed. If what many religions tell us is true, then, in mans beginning, he was from the start, handed down laws from god which would influence his thinking and decisions. Through this, the only way such a period could come about would have to be through some catastrophic event, which would not only be impossible to explain, but consequently, impossible to prove. Therefore, imagining this state could prove not only embarrassing, but would be a contradiction to the Holy Scriptures.

In the "natural state", Rousseau suggests that...
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