Discours sur l'origine et les fondements de l'inégalité by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

By Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Paru en 1755, le Discours sur l'origine et les fondements de l'inégalité parmi les hommes peut être considéré comme l. a. matrice de l'oeuvre morale et politique de Rousseau : il y affirme sa stature de philosophe, l'originalité de sa voix, l. a. strength de son "système". Résoudre le problème posé par l'Académie de Dijon, "quelle est l. a. resource de l'inégalité parmi les hommes et si elle est autorisée par los angeles loi naturelle ?" en d'autres termes expliquer que riches et puissants dominent leurs semblables sur lesquels ils n'ont pas de réelle supériorité, exige aux yeux de Rousseau de poser à nouveaux frais los angeles query "qu'est-ce que l'homme ?". Pour cela, il faut comprendre remark s'est formée sa "nature actuelle", si éloignée de ce que serait son état de nature : "Si je me suis étendu si longtemps sur l. a. supposition de cette situation primitive, c'est qu'ayant d'anciennes erreurs et des préjugés invétérés à détruire, j'ai cru devoir creuser jusqu'à los angeles racine…"

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3. Cenobites: those who lived a communal, as opposed to a solitary life. qxd 7/28/2004 2:24 PM Page 19 Traditional Accounts on the Life and Teachings of Pythagoras Others considered him Paeon,4 others, one of the divinities that inhabit the moon; yet others considered that he was one of the Olympian Gods, who, in order to correct and improve terrestrial existence, appeared to their contemporaries in human form, to extend to them the salutary light of philosophy and felicity. Never indeed came, nor, for the matter of that, ever will come to mankind a greater good than that which was imparted to the Greeks through this Pythagoras.

Unless the dyers previously purified the garments in which the desired colors were to be fixed, the dye would either fade, or be washed away entirely. Similarly, that divine man prepared the souls of lovers of philosophy, so that they might not disappoint him in any of these beautiful qualities which he hoped they would possess. He did not impart spurious doctrines, nor stratagems, in which most of the Sophists, who are at leisure for no good purpose, entangle young men; but his knowledge of things human and divine was scientific.

This metaphysical attitude was established on the ground of Oriental arts and sciences and certain esoteric practices of Orphism. For example, Pythagoras envisaged the mathematical sciences as preparing the human soul for a higher pursuit, thereby acting as a bridge from the material world to the immaterial divine Intellect. The school of Pythagoras was thus a religious society centered around the Muses and their leader Apollo, the solar Intellect. Following the lead of Apollo and Pythagoras, one thereby became aware of the divine order and unity.

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