Rousseau's Discourse On Inequality

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According to Rousseau 's “Discourse on Inequality”, there are four stages to the social evolution in humans; it 's natural state, family, nation, and civil society. There are two types of inequalities, natural (or physical) and moral. Natural inequality stems from differences in age, health, or other physical characteristics. Moral inequality is established by convention or consent of men. One of the first and most important questions Rousseau asks is "For how is it possible to know the source of the inequality among men, without knowing men themselves?” (Rousseau, Preface) To answer this question, man cannot be considered as he is now, deformed by society, but as he was in nature. The problem is that as knowledge increases man’s ignorance. This essay, using Rousseau’s “Discourse on Inequality” as a backbone will try and identify the origins of inequality within race, class, gender and sexuality, and establish how these inequalities were brought out and maintained. Rousseau states that “This fame study of original man, of his real wants, and of the fundamental principle of his duties, is likewise the only good method we can take, to surmount an infinite number of difficulties concerning the Origins of Inequality, the true foundations of political bodies, the reciprocal rights of their members, and a thousand other familiar questions that are as important as they are ill understood.” (Rousseau, Preface lviii) In identifying the origin of inequality, it is important to see
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