Savage Inequality Essay

Savage Inequality Essay-62
Moral inequality - Also called political inequality, moral inequality is based upon unnatural foundations.

At its root is a difference between being and appearing.

Savage man can only "be", and has no concept of pretence: civil man is forced to compare himself to others, and to lie to himself.

Whilst the savage person cares only for his survival, civilized man also cares deeply about what others think about him.

This is a deeply harmful psychological deformation, linked to the development of human reason and political societies.

Rousseau traces the development of amour propre back to the first village festivals, in which competition to dance and sing well increases the villagers' awareness of each other's talents and abilities.

Amour propre is best expressed in a society in which wealth dominates; there, all are compared on an insubstantial and harmful basis.Differences in wealth, power, status or class are moral inequalities; they involve one person benefiting at the expense of another.Whilst many authors have confused it with the natural state of affairs, Rousseau insists that this type of inequality is a recent creation.Enlightenment - Here, Rousseau means the development of language, human reasoning and mental capacities towards their highest limit.The eighteenth-century philosophical movement known as the Enlightnment, associated with Rousseau and thinkers as diverse as Voltaire, Kant and Montesquieu, addressed questions of human progress and development, and the role of reason, amongst other things.One of the aims of the reconstruction of human nature that Rousseau offers is to show that an idea of natural right was possible before man became social and created political institutions, and thus he claims that the state of nature was not the terrible place that some suggest. Nature - Nature does a great deal of work in the Discourse.Several meanings of the term are evident: first, human nature is a description of a being's behavior and capabilities; second, Nature is a collection of living organisms, and the environment in which man exists; third, and most important, Nature is also a divine force or power, that directs and shapes human development.Natural law sets out a framework within which people act for their own utility, and which, for Hobbes and Grotius, is intended to provide a solid basis for ending religious and political disagreements.The question that the Discourse sets out to answer is whether inequality is authorized by natural law: that is, whether differences between men are "natural" and useful things. He asks how we can have a law of nature if we do not understand the real nature of man.The problem with such a definition, Rousseau argues, is that it emphasizes the role of reason, which may be a recent development.Instead, Rousseau founds his idea of natural right on the principles of pity and self-preservation, which, he claims, existed before reason.


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