Rousseau 's Discourse On The Origin Of Inequality

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Rousseau, in his Discourse on the Origin of Inequality of Men, discusses the beginning and development of inequality of individuals. Rousseau seeks to discern whether the unequal treatment of men is dictated by natural laws or if it is a man made creation. When Rousseau analyzes humans in the state of nature, he claims we are all animalistic by nature. Humans in the state of nature are motivated by self-preservation much like animals and also pity. The difference between man and animals according to Rousseau is man’s perfectibility. Because man has very minimal needs in the state of nature, no concept of morality and limited interaction with other individuals, he is generally happy. Because in the state of nature man embodies the quality of perfectibility, he is able to adapt with his environment. As nature drives men to leave certain areas it forces them to learn new skills as they come in to contact with one another more often. As man connects with more and more individuals around him he becomes aware that he has more needs. As men begin to live in societies with more people they start comparing themselves to those around them and self-preservation and pity are no longer their main goals. Now, they have to do more work in order to be happy such as raise to greater heights then their fellow humans. Moral inequality is created as division of labor and property rights are invented. Owning property allows the rich to take advantage of the poor, leading to unstable relations
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