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The First and Second Discourses: By Jean-Jacques Rousseau Summary
Roger Masters

Everything you need to understand or teach The First and Second Discourses by Roger Masters.

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The First and Second Discourses: By Jean-Jacques Rousseau Summary

Plot Summary

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was among the most important philosophers of the 18th century and remains influential to this day both for his political philosophy and philosophy of education. In his day, he was widely known as an essayist, composer and a representative of Enlightenment thought. His work, following his death, went on to influence the French Revolution. His books Emile and The Social Contract were his most important philosophical works, the first setting out his philosophy of education and the second his political philosophy. He also wrote one of the first autobiographies in the modern period, along with a pre-Romantic novel, Julie.

Rousseau's notoriety started from his earliest work, of which the first two Discourses are a part. Rousseau composed three Discourses, writing the first two in 1750 and 1754, respectively. The First Discourse is the Discourse on the Moral Effects of the Arts and Sciences, whereas the second is the...

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