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A Discourse on Inequality

by Jean-Jacques Rousseau


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A fascinating examination of the relationship between civilization and inequality from one of history's greatest minds

The first man to erect a fence around a piece of land and declare it his own founded civil society—and doomed mankind to millennia of war and famine. The dawn of modern civilization, argues Jean-Jacques Rousseau in this essential treatise on human nature, was also the beginning of inequality.

One of the great thinkers of the Enlightenment, Rousseau based his work in compassion for his fellow man. The great crime of despotism, he believed, was the raising of the cruel above the weak. In this landmark text, he spells out the antidote for man's ills: a compassionate revolution to pull up the fences and restore the balance of mankind.

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Philosophical Library/Open Road
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Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Author)

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) was one of the leading figures of the French Enlightenment. The author of popular novels such as Emile, or On Education (1762), he achieved immortality with the publication of philosophical treatises such as The S...

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A Discourse on Inequality
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