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.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Discourse on the Origin of Inequality by…

Discourse on the Origin of Inequality by Rousseau Jean Jacques Author ON… (original 1754; edition 2004)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,363138,594 (3.56)15
Title:Discourse on the Origin of Inequality by Rousseau Jean Jacques Author ON Aug 28 2004 Paperback
Info:Dover Publications (2004)
Collections:Your library
Tags:to-read, philosophy, political-philosophy, political-theory, french-philosophy

Work details

Discourse on the Origin of Inequality by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1754)



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

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 15 mentions

English (9)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  All languages (13)
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Quintessential Rousseau. If you want to understand continental philosophy, the French Revolution, or Marx, this book is very useful. The preface gives a strong (yet not full) account of Rousseau's life and works. Rousseau himself is a tolerable philosopher and clear writer, and gives a historical lens for thought in the late enlightenment.

In general, non-english philosophical classics are great when done by Penguin Books. ( )
  MarchingBandMan | Apr 6, 2017 |
Very well reasoned and well argued, but coming from a 21st century perspective, I found it difficult to overlook Rousseau's lack of scientific rigor when he assumes contain key facts about the evolution of man. Overlooking that, his idea that property is the source of inequality and that the wealthy devised the State as a way to coerce the poor into defending the property of the rich is an interesting argument. ( )
  sbloom42 | May 21, 2014 |
This guy is into social darwinism in a big way. ( )
  wonderperson | Mar 30, 2013 |
I have read that Rousseau's writings provided a basis for Karl Marx's beliefs; it is obviously true after reading Discourse on the Origin of Inequality.

Although this text is heavily in the camp of communal, "I am my brother's keeper", modern economy has ruined man's nature, Rousseau comes through with a smattering of lines which any of America's Founding Fathers could have written.

As a philosopher, and one not originally writing in English, Rousseau pens a comprehensible and easily read book. His arguments, however one may agree or disagree with, are neither convoluted nor flimsy; he proves his beliefs with profound insight. But again, his conclusions may not be completely correct or agreeable to all, they are instrumental in the foundation of any government. ( )
  HistReader | Feb 27, 2012 |
Rousseau is a strange philosopher. Some of his idea are dangerous, too.
For example, his theory of social contract doesn't provide any limitation to the power of the 'General Will': the opposite of the other equally famous theory, Locke's one, which requires some check and balances and doesn't have absolute power toward the citizens (the results are easy to see: Rousseau's legacy are Napoleon and Urss, Locke's the United States).

Aside from that, Rousseau's account of the birth of human societies (the argument of this book) is bit fuzzy and misleading.
I think that Hobbes' one -100 years older- is far more near to reality: the first societies arose out of men's desire of selfpreservation and this happend always with the absolute subjection of them to a central authority, a leader (though obviously Hobbes approves this absolute power and we do not).
Rousseau brings a fundamental detail to this picture: the cause behind this association, the element that made an ever-continous (yer not very harmful) state of war a deep problem was agriculture.
Agriculture pushed men toward bigger and hierarchical societies: those societies thus gained a remarkable advantage toward the less efficent ones, and started the age of slavery . ( )
  Ramirez | Jul 28, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140444394, Paperback)

In "A Discourse on Inequality", Rousseau sets out to demonstrate how the growth of civilization corrupts man's natural happiness and freedom by creating artificial inequalities of wealth, power and social privilege. Contending that primitive man was equal to his fellows, Rousseau believed that as societies become more sophisticated, the strongest and most intelligent members of the community gain an unnatural advantage over their weaker brethren, and that constitutions set up to rectify these imbalances through peace and justice in fact do nothing but perpetuate them. Rousseau's political and social arguments in the "Discourse" were a hugely influential denunciation of the social conditions of his time and one of the most revolutionary documents of the eighteenth-century.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:31 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

A republication of French author and philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau's eighteenth-century text in which he discusses the negative impact of civilization on man's natural happiness and freedom.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.56)
0.5 1
1 4
1.5 2
2 7
2.5 3
3 44
3.5 9
4 46
4.5 3
5 23

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 135,551,154 books! | Top bar: Always visible