• Nina Zarechnaya
    I feel I'm fatally misinterpreting something, since if this is indeed the case it's a quite gaping hole in the argument.

    So Rousseau explains that humans' faculty to perfect themselves is their sole reason for exit from the state of nature, a state in which inequality had no reason to exist. He also identifies the institution of property as the source of inequality at the start of the second part and suggests that it depended on "many anterior ideas which could have only been born successively." But, to my knowledge, he does not explain how exactly the faculty of perfectability has led to the foundations of property or elaborated on what exactly these "anterior ideas" were. Hence even if we have traced the roots of inequality back to the idea of property, it is still as unexplained as before since we do not know how exactly this idea came about. What am I missing?

    (Sorry for my English btw.)
  • I like sushi
    Can you give page references please?

    Rousseau was suspicious and ignorant, of the underlying ‘nature’ of humans. He rightly questioned the delineation between nature and nurture, but seemed to lean heavily away from ‘nature’,as a discernible ‘law’. Today we understand much better the interaction between innate and learned capacities - not to say we’ve neatly tied this off as ‘problem solved’ only that we’ve come to understand the nuances between genetic disposition and lived experience (our capacities are preset but certainly not predetermined - the environment is the thread of time we live, learn and change throughout our existence).

    Rousseau was also a bit of a romantic. I think he is often misquoted as saying ‘noble savage’, but his view was somewhat inclined in that direction.

    The question of ‘inequality’ in modern anthropology is a well argued point. Generally speaking ‘the birth of inequality’ is broadly defined as the point where property and ownership came into political play.

    Sedentary living is thought to have solidified loose forms of societal status into more physically manifest symbolism - larger abodes and decorative possessions.

    Interesting items of archeological note are those that are ‘useless’ - eg. jade axes (which are ‘useless’ as actual axes).
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