A Discourse on Inequality Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What does Jean-Jacques Rousseau's earliest discourse discuss?

Jean-Jacques Rousseau's earliest discourse discusses the moral effects of the arts and sciences on society. The first discourse attempts to determine whether society is purified or corrupted by the restoration of arts and sciences.

2. Explain why Rousseau believes it is difficult to discuss the effects that the arts and sciences have on society.

Rousseau sees difficulty in discussing the effects of the arts and sciences on society because it evolved after many centuries of barbarism and required a revolution for recovery. The sciences and the arts collapsed, but were revived so it is difficult to tell what had the biggest effect.

3. Explain how the revival of the arts and sciences affected society according to Rousseau in "Chapter 1, A Discourse on the Moral Effects of the Arts and Sciences, Part I".

In the revival period, the arts and sciences existed under the government and law, but it caused society to become despotic. The arts and sciences lead to an inequality in humans.

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