Discourse On Inequality Study Guides

  • A Discourse on Inequality

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    A Discourse on Inequality is a 1754 philosophical essay by Jean-Jacques Rousseau that examines the source of political and ethical inequality within society. After disregarding natural, or physical, inequality, Rousseau examines the transition from his idealized "natural man," living alone, balancing self-love with compassion, to the corrupt societal man, constantly suffering, living for and under the judgments of others. According to Rousseau, the division of land into private property was the original sin of society, allowing for the powerful to continually exploit the weak through social conventions and laws.