Rousseau's Discours sur l'inégalité - General structure and language notes

  • Created by: CaraPW
  • Created on: 03-05-21 21:15
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  • Rousseau's discours sur l'inégalité - general notes
    • Is the discours a polemic?
      • Some thought he just wanted to be polemical after first discours, supported through use quarrels
      • More complex than just a polemic, he extends his his arguments from his first discours
      • Controversy gets Rousseau a readership, but he always sticks to the principles he sets out and extends them in his novels
      • It is a polemic if by polemic we mean a declaration of war against the conventional interests of 18th Century philosophers
      • Is particular in that he challenges readers' viewpoints, and is generally politically in line with his arguments
    • Imagination and hypothesis
      • Rousseau is very open about his discours being just a hypothesis, a possibility
      • In the exordium he says he wants to put facts to one side - but thinks is hypothesis is a logically likely possibility, and that other hypotheses would bring similar results
    • Deceptiveness
      • Uses deceptive language to make readers believe his history is factual - highly persuasive
      • Use of Voir usually conveys sense of empirical evidence
      • Uses voir metaphorically to mean imagine - deceptive legitimisation
    • Is there any hope?
      • There is hope for individuals to redeem themselves - developed in Émile - idea of removing an educating a child apart from society
      • Amour de soi still exists in a lesser form
      • It's not human nature that's the problem, it's social structures


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