CONFIDENTIAL: Referee Report for Monsieur J.J. Rousseau, ‘Discours sur l’origine et les fondements de l’inégalité parmi les hommes’
June 18, 2013 § Leave a comment
I am afraid I cannot recommend for publication the MS Discours sur l’origine et les fondements de l’inégalité parmi les hommes, (“Discourse on the Origin and Basis of Inequality Amongst Men”). Although compellingly written (indeed frequently bordering on the polemical), my objection to this competently composed study is two-fold: a lack of originality, and a lack of familiarity with relevant recent material and progress in the discipline.
The author takes as his starting point Hobbes’s proposition that man is not by nature sociable, but seeks to explore by a different route how he might nonetheless have come to attain society. This is done via a conjectural history which claims that man in his brute state was indigent and solitary, but over time became competitive and aggressive only after psychological change (Hobbes’s proposition about man’s natural condition drew the right conclusion for the wrong reasons; the analysis of modern…
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