Essay on Discourse On The Origin Of Inequality

Essay on Discourse On The Origin Of Inequality

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In his essay, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, Rousseau attempts to explain the relationship between the formation of political and social institutions and the state of human nature. Before going into depth regarding the state of human nature, Rousseau starts by first demonstrating the first crucial steps in human evolution and the effects these steps had on the development of inequality. Rousseau believes that the combination of these concepts are important to understanding where we came from, who we are now as a society and what our society will resemble in the future.
For Rousseau, the state of nature was a world in which we more or less behaved like animals. He believes one way to assess the way humans behaved in this state of nature; before the formation of society, language, and technology, is to observe the behaviors of animals. Rousseau compares the animal way of life to our current and modern way of life and deducts certain relationships and concepts in regards to our development as humans.
In his essay, Rousseau contrast contemporary society with the state of nature using various points and subjects. Specifically important, are the points Rousseau makes regarding human desires, luxury, and technology. These three concepts are incorporated in an interesting argument made by Rousseau involving the development and evolution of humans.
From studying nature and the behavior of animals, Rousseau points out in his essay the ease in which animal desires are satisfied. Animals need or want very few things as opposed to human beings. Animals, after finding food, water, and a place to sleep will often relax or find leisure time. Animals will never try to satisfy an excess of desires, because animals do not have any, nor do ...


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...ic point and view on instinct. Kant states, “Instinct – that voice of God- must alone have guided the beginner” (Kant pg. 50)
Kant in reply to these claims, believe that if history were to end at this very moment then Rousseau would be correct in believing that the state of nature in better than the current situation humans are living in. Kant instead of focusing on what humans are in the current state of nature, focuses on the future of the human race and where it is headed. He also points out that you cannot look at the progress of humanity by the individual. To fully appreciate where we are going as a species, you have to think of humans a a whole. Kant explains this view by saying, “For the individual, who use of his freedom has regard only for himself, such a change was a loss; for nature, whose end for man concerns the species, it was a victory” (Kant pg. 54)

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