Discourse on the Origin and the Foundations of Inequality Among Men Jean-Jacques Rousseau Translated by Ian Johnston Discourse on the Origin and Basis of Inequality Among Men (French: Discours sur l'origine et les fondements de l'inegalite parmi les hommes), also commonly known as the "Second Discourse," is a work by philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Rousseau first exposes in this work his conception of a human state of nature, presented as a philosophical fiction (like by Thomas Hobbes, unlike by John Locke), and of human perfectibility, an early idea of progress. He then explains the way, according to him, people may have established civil society, which leads him to present private property as the original source and basis of all inequality. Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), the very famous French philosopher and writer, prepared his Discourse on Inequality (also called the Second Discourse) as an entry in a competition organized by the Academy of Dijon in 1754. He had won first prize in a previous competition (in 1750) with his Discourse on the Sciences and the Arts (the First Discourse), a victory which had helped to make him famous. The Second Discourse did not fare so well in the contest. When the Second Discourse was published again in 1782, Rousseau inserted a few short minor additions into the text. These are included here but are not indicated.
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