Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality among Men: by Jean-Jacques Rousseau with Related Documents / Edition 1

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Overview

A provocative essay that challenged the superiority of civilized society and modern government, Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality made him an outcast among fellow Enlightenment thinkers but stands today as one of the most important political texts in Western history. Helena Rosenblatt's new translation, introduction, and selection of related documents help students comprehend why Rousseau's criticisms of human nature, political hierarchy, and private property were so controversial in his time yet later were hailed as a foundation of democracy. The introduction explores life experiences that shaped Rousseau's philosophy, explains contemporary ideas about political authority and social order, and guides students through Rousseau's thought, including explanations of how his work anticipated theories about evolution and inspired leaders of the French Revolution. Related primary documents -- including a selection from Rousseau's Social Contract -- situate Rousseau's ideas in contemporary political and social thought. Questions for consideration, a chronology of Rousseau's life and work, and a selected bibliography enrich students' understanding of the man and his times.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312468422
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 10/13/2010
  • Series: Bedford Cultural Editions Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

HELENA ROSENBLATT (Ph.D., Columbia) is a professor of history at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. A specialist in European intellectual history, she is the author of Liberal Values: Benjamin Constant and the Politics of Religion (2008) and Rousseau and Geneva: From the First Discourse to the Social Contract, 1749-1762 (1997), and she is the editor of The Cambridge Companion to Constant (2009).

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Table of Contents

Foreword

Preface
 
PART ONE. INTRODUCTION: The Life and Thought of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Rousseau's Beginnings: The Road to the Second Discourse
The Origins of Political Authority Before Rousseau
Rousseau's Bombshell: The Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality
     The State of Nature
     The Steps to Society
     The Invention of Property
     Anthropology, Psychology, and Evolutionary Biology
     Rousseau and Gender
     Reception of the Second Discourse
     “Citizen of Geneva”: The Dedication
Rousseau's Later Life and Legacy
     Rousseau and the French Revolution
     The Social Contract and Its Paradoxes
 
PART TWO: Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality Among Men by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Citizen of Geneva
Dedication
Preface
Notice about the Notes
First Part
Second Part
Rousseau's Notes
 
PART THREE. RELATED DOCUMENTS
1. Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet, Politics Drawn from Holy Scripture, 1709
2. Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, 1651
3. Samuel Pufendorf, On the Duty of Man and Citizen, 1673
4. John Locke, Two Treatises of Government, 1690
5. George-Louis Leclerc Buffon, Discourse on the Nature of Animals, 1753
6. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Of the Social Contract, 1762
7. Maximilien Robespierre, Eulogies to Rousseau, 1790s
8. Benjamin Constant, Principles of Politics, 1810
 
Appendixes
     A Jean-Jacques Rousseau Chronology (1712-1794)
     Questions for Consideration
     Selected Bibliography
 
Index

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