A Discourse on Inequality Characters

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Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) was a famous figure of the French Enlightment. An essayist, composer, novelist and philosopher, Rousseau's work influenced the French Revolution, French education and helped to produce the genre of modern autobiography and the French romantic novel. Rousseau's autobiography, his Confessions, became well-known, as did his novel, Julie. However, the two works which made him most famous were The Social Contract and Emile, the former of which contains his most mature political theory and the second his most developed philosophy of education.

Rousseau had written a dissertation but before 1750 he was relatively unknown. When Rousseau responded to an essay contest which his Discourse on the Arts and Sciences, he quickly rose to prominence, particularly due to his seemingly outrageous thesis that the arts and sciences have corrupted human morality.

The Second Discourse, the Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, was also written in response to...

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