Inequality: Its Origins and Effects

Mark Philp and Z. A. Pelczynski

in Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Rousseau

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199645060
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741616 | DOI:
Inequality: Its Origins and Effects

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  • History of Western Philosophy


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Rousseau’s account of inequality and property is examined, drawing on the Second Discourse and its account of the simultaneous emergence of inequality and social conflict, but also on Emile, Corsica, the Confessions and other texts. Inequality creates dependence (and arrogance), but also difference and separateness, and it makes men aggressive and acquisitive. Remedies for inequality in the Social Contract and other texts are discussed and assessed.

Keywords: Rousseau; inequality; commerce; progress; wealth; division; conflict; sumptuary laws; censorship; luxury

Chapter.  9329 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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