Jean Jacques Rousseau 's Work Discourse On The Origin And Foundations Of Inequality

Jean Jacques Rousseau 's Work Discourse On The Origin And Foundations Of Inequality

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Imagine a time were humans lived in a primitive state were they were free and independent. A time before humans became civilized and everything was peaceful. Would we be able to revert back to a time were we wouldn’t be highly dependent on electricity, industrialization, infrastructure, the food industry, and most importantly the dependency on other people? Would we be able to survive and thrive? In this paper, I will be writing about Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s work Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality Among Men, where he extensively wrote about the State of Nature.
Before an explanation of the state of nature really is given, first this question must be addressed. How can we define the natural law that is supposed to authorize inequality? The matter of the fact is that we cannot provide an accurate answer of knowing equality without knowing man. So, in order to answer this question we cannot reflect on man as he is now, corrupted by civilization, but as man was in its optimal state, the natural state. Now, if we were to take people out of society and put them in a State of Nature were we would live a solitary lifestyle, self-preservation and pity would be two things that would motivate us. Self-Preservation is our basic instinct to protect ourselves from harm and death. Pity is an overall summarization of our feelings when it comes to seeing a sentient being suffering. These two things will help us figure out what natural rights we have.
Rousseau then goes on to distinguishing the two different types of inequality there are. One is natural inequality and the other is moral inequality. Here Rousseau explains the inequalities, “I conceive of two kinds of inequality in the human species: one which I call natural or p...


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...the state of nature I believe we would die. Humans have become so dependent on all the artificial development, that without it we wouldn’t know how to overcome and endure. Civilization has become the natural state of man.
Rousseau’s goal with the state of nature was to analyze the foundations of mankind. Once we understand what humans were like by nature, only then can we possibly come up with some political system. Till then we cannot fully explore or answer the questions that Rousseau put forth. As Rousseau said, “For it is no light undertaking to separate what is original from what is artificial in the present nature of man, and to have a proper understanding of a state which no longer exists, which perhaps never existed, which probably never will exist, and yet about which it is necessary to have accurate notions in order to judge properly our own present state.”

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