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The Essential Writings of Rousseau

English · Paperback

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Informationen zum Autor Jean-Jacques Rousseau; Newly translated by Peter Constantine; Edited by Leo Damrosch Newly translated by Peter Constantine Edited and with an Introduction by Leo Damrosch The Essential Writings of Rousseau collects the best and most indispensable work of one of the world's most influential writers. A towering figure of Enlightenment thought, Jean-Jacques Rousseau was also one of that movement's most passionate and persuasive critics. His extraordinarily original observations on politics, education, and human nature were provocative in their day and remain resonant more than two hundred years after his death. Rousseau's 1762 treatise The Social Contract laid intellectual groundwork for both the American and French Revolutions, influencing such figures as Thomas Jefferson. An eloquent writer with profound insight into human psychology, Rousseau also penned one of the most compelling autobiographies ever written-the magisterial Confessions. The entirety of the first three books of that masterpiece along with the complete Social Contract are included in this indispensable volume. Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality Among Men It is of man that I have to speak, and the question I shall examine assures that I will be speaking openly, as one does not propose such questions to one's fellow men when one is afraid of honoring the truth. I will, therefore, defend the cause of humanity with confidence before the wise men who invite me to do so, and shall be pleased if I prove worthy of my subject and my judges. In my view there are two sorts of inequality in the human species: one I call natural or physical, because it is established by nature and consists of differences in age, health, physical strength, and qualities of the mind or soul; the other, one might call moral or political inequality, because it depends on some sort of mutual agreement, and is established, or at least authorized, by the consent of men. This inequality consists of the various privileges that some enjoy at the expense of others, such as being wealthier, more honored, and more powerful than they, or even making themselves obeyed. One cannot ask what the source of natural inequality is, because the simple definition of the term would be provided as an answer. Even less can one inquire if there is not some essential connection between the two inequalities, for that would be to ask in different terms if those who command are necessarily better than those who obey, and if the power of the body or the mind, and wisdom or virtue, are always found in the same individuals in proportion to their power or wealth: this is a good question, perhaps, in a debate among slaves within earshot of their masters, but it is not fitting for free men of reason who are engaged in a quest for truth. What, then, is this discourse about? Its aim is to mark within the progression of things the moment in which rights succeeded violence, and nature was subjected to law; to explain by what sequence of miracles the powerful might resolve to serve the weak and the people purchase an imaginary repose at the price of true happiness. All the philosophers who have examined the foundations of society have felt compelled to go back to the state of nature, but not one has succeeded. Some have not hesitated to suppose that men living in a natural state had the notion of what was just and unjust, without troubling to show that they must already have had that notion, or even that it would have been useful to them to have it. Others have spoken of a natural right that each individual has to protect what belongs to him, yet without explaining what they understand by belongs. Others again, after first gran...

Product details

Authors Peter Constantine, Leo Damrosch, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Assisted by Leo Damrosch (Editor), Peter Constantine (Translation)
Publisher Modern Library PRH US
Languages English
Product format Paperback
Released 26.03.2013
EAN 9780812980387
ISBN 978-0-8129-8038-7
No. of pages 530
Dimensions 135 mm x 205 mm x 30 mm
Modern Library Classics
Modern Library (Paperback)
Modern Library Classics
Modern Library
Subject Non-fiction book

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