18. Democracy and Participation: Rousseau's Discourse

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Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114)

This lecture is an introduction to the life and works of Rousseau, as well as the historical and political events in France after the death of Louis XIV. Writing in a variety of genres and disciplines, Rousseau helped bring to fruition the political and intellectual movement known as the Enlightenment. Among his most important works is the Second Discourse (Discourse on Inequality), in which Rousseau traces the origins of inequality and addresses the effects of time and history on humans. He goes on to discuss a number of qualities, such as perfectibility, compassion, sensitivity, and goodness, in an attempt to assess which ones were a part of our original nature.

00:00 - Chapter 1. Who Is Rousseau?
18:22 - Chapter 2. Rousseau's State of Nature
34:45 - Chapter 3. Civilization and Property: How Man Transitioned from Nature to Society

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses

This course was recorded in Fall 2006.