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The Origin of Inequality In Rousseaus Discourse on the Origin of Inequalities Rousseau tries to explain the birth and evolution of inequality between humans dating back to savage man in the pure state of nature Rousseau proposes that it was not man that progressed toward inequality as much as it was the state of nature itself In his own words Rousseau says the state of nature develops and gives rise to pride shame and envy91 He believed that in the pure state of nature no conflict was present because humans were compassionate and showed pity toward other members of the human race however the cooperation between people lead to more free time which was used to think and invent Inventions sprung up and people for their own use created luxury items These luxury items caused conflicts and corrupted needs for people of the human race 88 Rousseau is basically stating that our virtues as savages in the pure state of nature were corrupted by the change in the state of nature as they knew it Jonathan Wolff author of Intro to Political Philosophy has a few beliefs that parallel those of Rousseau Wolff agrees with Rousseau in that natural humans have free will and the ability for self-improvement 30 However Wolff believes that these two traits conflict each other He argues that if humans have both free will and self-preservation that when a human finds that he needs something that another one owns the two traits come into conflict At this point man must decide whether to further himself by taking what he needs or feeling pity and compassion for the other human and continue to suffer 28 According to Wolff these traits are the source of human progression as opposed to the progression of the state of nature Eli Freidlander has serious questions regarding the validity of Rousseaus Discourse and his findings Freidlander ponders how Rousseau found
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