First Edition of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Discourse on the Origin and Basis of Inequality Among Men
Discours sur l’Origine et les Fondemens de l’Inégalité Parmi Les Hommes. (Discourse on the Origin and Basis of Inequality Among Men).
Item Number: 95846
Amsterdam: Marc-Michel Rey, 1755.
First edition of Rousseau’s discourse on social inequality and injustice. Octavo, bound in full contemporary sheep, gilt titles and tooling to the spine, orange spine label, engraved frontispiece and headpieces, errata leaf at rear. In very good condition.
Genevan philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Discourse on Inequality is considered a cornerstone in modern political and social thought. The work was the first discourse to expose Rousseau's conception of a human state of nature and idea that the progression of civil society is the basis of all inequality. Throughout the books four parts, Rousseau discusses two types of inequality: natural, or physical inequality, and ethical, or moral inequality. Rousseau appears to take a cynical view of civil society, where man has strayed from his "natural state" of individual independence and freedom to satisfy his individual needs and desires.