The Social Contract, A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, and A Discourse on Political Economy by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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Synopsis

Jean-Jacques Rousseau writes, "Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains." This statement exemplifies the main idea behind "The Social Contract", in other words that man is essentially free if it weren't for the oppression of political organizations such as government. Rousseau goes on to lay forth the principles that he deems most important for achieving political right amongst people. Contained within this volume are also two discourses by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In "A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality" Rousseau examines the causes of the inequalities that exist among men concluding that it is the natural result of the formation of any civilization. In "A Discourse on Political Economy" Rousseau examines the nature of politics and their effect on people. These three works lay a solid foundation for the political philosophy of Rousseau and are a must read for any student of political science or philosophy.
 

About Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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Jean Jacques Rousseau was a Swiss philosopher and political theorist who lived much of his life in France. Many reference books describe him as French, but he generally added "Citizen of Geneva" whenever he signed his name. He presented his theory of education in Emile (1762), a novel, the first book to link the educational process to a scientific understanding of children; Rousseau is thus regarded as the precursor, if not the founder, of child psychology. "The greatest good is not authority, but liberty," he wrote, and in The Social Contract (1762) Rousseau moved from a study of the individual to an analysis of the relationship of the individual to the state: "The art of politics consists of making each citizen extremely dependent upon the polis in order to free him from dependence upon other citizens." This doctrine of sovereignty, the absolute supremacy of the state over its members, has led many to accuse Rousseau of opening the doors to despotism, collectivism, and totalitarianism. Others say that this is the opposite of Rousseau's intent, that the surrender of rights is only apparent, and that in the end individuals retain the rights that they appear to have given up. In effect, these Rousseau supporters say, the social contract is designed to secure or to restore to individuals in the state of civilization the equivalent of the rights they enjoyed in the state of nature. Rousseau was a passionate man who lived in passionate times, and he still stirs passion in those who write about him today.
 
Published December 7, 2009 by Digireads.com. 222 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Law & Philosophy, Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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