HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

Discourse on the Origin of Inequality (1754)

by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,065247,717 (3.57)17
Philosophy. Politics. Nonfiction. HTML:

The searing indictment of man-made inequality in all its many forms that Rousseau offers in Discourse on Inequality is a must-read for philosophy buffs and supporters of social justice. This artfully composed argument sets forth the core elements of Rousseau's philosophical views, including his unique take on Hobbes' concept of nature and natural law.

.… (more)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 17 mentions

English (16)  French (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Dutch (2)  Catalan (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (24)
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
É interessante pensar o problema todo como uma simulação. O que acontece se definirmos o estado natural como X e seguirmos as consequências? No caso de Rousseau, o estado natural é de abundância, onde o humano selvagem circula e sacia seus desejos e necessidades; mas, contra Hobbes, ele repugna a violência, ainda mais contra aqueles que se parecem com ele, e as lágrimas nos mostram que a natureza nos deu a mais branda das artes, a da compaixão. De modo que as disputas são simples e poucas, a vida é nômade, e não há nem sociedade, nem família, de modo que o ciúme, a inveja, o pecado, nada disso existe. O selvagem talvez nem reconheça os outros e não está, pelas tensões diversas da vida social, imerso em confusão e falsidade quanto às suas necessidades. É decerto um modelo adâmico. Nem linguagem seria necessária no começo, tendo primeiro, o que é sensato, desenvolvido-se frases-urros, para somente depois, com uma maior analiticidade, surgirem as palavras, primeiro instâncias únicas, só depois classes e adjetivos. E o preço da desagregação social nem existiria- fugir para a floresta: taí algo fácil, e lá haverá comida e abrigo sempre disponíveis.

Rosseau então critica a atribuição do adjetivo "natural" a escolhas de partida arbitrárias, feitas com o auxílio de conceitos filosóficos, e também a atribuições de valor típicas da sociedade. O todos contra todos do Hobbes, por exemplo, embora uma tentativa um pouco melhor do que as naturalizações do social dos aristotélicos, está imbuído demais na situação de desconfiança e guerra constante da europa moderna do século XVII. Porque, sendo o selvagem o bom selvagem, a sociedade corrompe, e os valores da sociedade, corrompidos, distorcem nossa visão do que seria o natural, se não atentamos antes a esse fato. A filosofia de um povo não é adequada a outro, pois leva com ela valores, moldados pela sua sociedade própria. Essa visada viciada não deve ser aplicada à naturalização do estado atual dela mesma. No começo a natureza é boa e provedora, e o humano a melhor compleição orgânica, um animal não tem instinto próprio mas se apropria dos instintos dos outros, e por isso vive a boa vida. A indústria e técnia nos tira a força orgânica que tínhamos.

Mas com problemas e circunstâncias onde seriam obrigados a se juntar para lutar contra certas intempéries e desastres, os humanos se juntariam. E disso, uma vez formada uma sociedade, as já existentes diferenças de habilidades e hábitos se potencializariam. Como na sociedade sempre olhamos aos outros, acabamos nos guiar pelo outro para sabermos o que somos - tudo fica sujeito à frivolidade do exterior, que no limite leva ao artificial e falso, honra sem virtude, razão sem sabedoria, prazer sem alegria. E disso a diferença é potencializada, e quem sai na frente pode se aproveitar de tal para ampliar ainda mais sua vantagem, usando, dado que há vantagens a serem ganhas agora. Até chegarmos ao déspota, que leva justiça pois a rouba, e misericórdia, pois ameaça a todos constantemente. Seu poder é arbitrário e garantido pela força, que se falha, leva consigo o contrato, e ele deve ficar à merce da violência dos seus opositores, sem apelação possível a nada.

O direito à propriedade legitima a oposição rico e pobre, o magistrado a entre poderosos e fracos, a transformação do poder legítimo em arbitrário legitima a relação senhor - escravo, o nível final da desigualdade. Nessa situação de desigualdade, o direito a oprimir parece algo a ser conquistado, e até confiar em políticos passa a ser justificado. As artes tornam-se lucrativas no sentido inverso da sua utilidade, pois as mais necessárias são comuns e acessíveis, e por apego à diferenciação, tornam-se as mais negligenciadas.

Ademais, Rousseau, nas interessantes notas ao final do livro, fornece, na medida do possível, relatos e citações de biólogos, historiadores e (precursores da) antropólogos, a corroborar sua hipótese e dedução, ou ao menos a combater visões diferentes. A predileta da moçada é a tirada mortal de que, apesar da obsessão dos europeus de converterem à vida civilizada os inúmeros selvagens que encontraram, nunca tinham sucesso, enquanto que aqui e ali exploradores resolviam virar selvagens.


( )
  henrique_iwao | Aug 30, 2022 |
Lately many of the ills of liberalism have been ascribed to Rousseau: "man being born free but everywhere is found in chains" and the myth of the noble savage. Reading Rousseau made me realize how distorted are some of the claims about his philosophy. He is definitely not the caricature which others make of him and his thought is original and well developed. Of course, some times is difficult to agree with what he says and others he is totally off. ( )
  Adrianmb | Mar 23, 2021 |
Everyone should read this one. ( )
  rjcrunden | Feb 2, 2021 |
I'm occasionally struck by how bad the great classics of political philosophy are. Consider that, when teaching philosophy, we spend an awful lot of energy convincing students that their arguments have to be tight, they have to avoid fallacies, they have to back up their reasoning, and they have to avoid special pleading. Then we give them Locke's treatises, or The Prince, or this great turd of philosophical unreason.

That said, once you decide this isn't a work of philosophy, it gets much better; it's not. It's pretty clearly a work of rhetoric, seeking to persuade rather than to reason. The first part, in particular, is utterly ridiculous taken as an argument of any kind: we have no reason to think that human beings outside of society are happy vegetables, but that's how Rousseau presents them. His 'argument' is entirely inconsistent; one minute he says these 'savages' have no need of tools or weapons, since they can just eat acorns, the next minute he's happily supplying them with spears to fight off wild beasts. Taken as a rhetorical attack on previous state-of-nature theories, however, and on the idea that civilization is always all good, it's okay. It's too silly to be anything other than okay, but that's fine. Read it ironically, and it makes sense: Rousseau's picture is no sillier than Hobbes', or Locke's, and his name is a lot less silly than Pufendorf's.

Part II is a bit more serious. Here Rousseau takes a lot from Hobbes (one of the few philosophically solid classics of political philosophy), his analysis tightens up, and we're suddenly faced with a whole bunch of fascinating questions: how did it happen that humans because social? how did it happen that some people get the power and wealth, while others get nothing? can that be justified?

His answers aren't particularly good, but as a way of showing us how difficult and important these questions are--and, pace Hobbes/Locke/et al., how difficult they are to solve--Rousseau's book works very nicely. It's much harder to justify inequality than previous philosophers had argued (slash some philosophers still argue), it's much harder to provide a rational basis for human society than most of us like to think, and it's very hard indeed to imagine how human institutions came into being.

Sadly, Rousseau seems to have led more people towards naturalism than away from it, even though you can easily read this book as an attempt to do the latter. The point about the 'state of nature' is that it probably never happened, not that we should return to it; if we can get out of the habit of thinking that there's some nature we can get back to, we can also get out of the habit of thinking we can justify our institutions and actions based on the 'fact' that they're 'natural.' ( )
  stillatim | Oct 23, 2020 |
Let us conclude then that man in a state of nature, wandering up and down the forests, without industry, without speech, and without home, an equal stranger to war and to all ties, neither standing in need of his fellow-creatures nor having any desire to hurt them, and perhaps even not distinguishing them one from another; let us conclude that, being self-sufficient and subject to so few passions, he could have no feelings or knowledge but such as befitted his situation; that he felt only his actual necessities, and disregarded everything he did not think himself immediately concerned to notice, and that his understanding made no greater progress than his vanity.

It's actually quite amazing how wrong Rousseau was about human nature. Read and see for yourself. ( )
  drbrand | Jun 8, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (34 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rousseau, Jean-Jacquesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Keynäs, VilleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
'Tis of man I am to speak;  and the very question, in answer to which I am to speak of him, sufficiently informs me that I am going to speak to men, for to those alone, who are not afraid of honouring truth, it belongs to propose discussions of this kind.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Information from the Finnish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Philosophy. Politics. Nonfiction. HTML:

The searing indictment of man-made inequality in all its many forms that Rousseau offers in Discourse on Inequality is a must-read for philosophy buffs and supporters of social justice. This artfully composed argument sets forth the core elements of Rousseau's philosophical views, including his unique take on Hobbes' concept of nature and natural law.

.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Current Discussions

None

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.57)
0.5 1
1 5
1.5 2
2 12
2.5 4
3 64
3.5 12
4 58
4.5 4
5 36

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 201,907,926 books! | Top bar: Always visible