Jean Jacques Rousseau Discourse On Inequality Essay

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In his Discourse on Inequality, Jean-Jacques Rousseau expresses his own conception of the original condition of human nature, one that is vastly contrary to predecessors Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. Rousseau claims that in order to fully understand human nature in its original state, one must conduct a thought experiment; stripping away social constraints acquired by the influence of time, history, and traditions, so that all that remains are the innate animalistic qualities. Many of the conflicts in humanity are attributed to the social conflicts that arise from the need to compete for power, property, and influence over others. This obsession with competition causes inequality and is derived from a moral perversion of amour de soi meme (self love) to amour propre (self elevation). In this review, I propose to give an account of Rousseau’s conception of the state of…show more content…
Yet it is also clear that many of the great pitfalls in society can be attributed to the need to compete for power, property, and influence over others. Rousseau’s solution is to enter a social contract that “both parties commit themselves to observe the laws that are spelled out in its articles” (Rousseau 76). Unlike the savage man, because the civilized man is no longer solitary and in fact is in constant interaction with fellow members of his species, he can no longer be free from social obligations. George Kateb supports this claim by stating, the good citizen will willingly obey the laws set in place as “no man can preserve his life, liberty, and property without fulfilling his obligation” and utilizing the concept of reciprocal effects that Rousseau expresses throughout his essay, Kateb concludes stating “by fulfilling his obligations, each man preserves hi life, liberty and property” (Kateb

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