Rousseau's States of Nature
Christopher Kelly

October 26, 2022, 9:00am - 10:30am
Faculty of Arts, Monash University

Melbourne
Australia

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Monash University

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Readers of Rousseau's Discourse on Inequality often find his account of the state of nature in Part One to be baffling, or simply wildly implausible. Some interpreters try to "rescue" Rousseau by arguing that he means his account to be entirely hypothetical with no reflection in history. Others argue that he intends a quasi-evolutionary account of human origins. The focus on this part of the Discourse can distract readers from what Rousseau says in the rest of the work about different stages within the state of nature, ending with an account of a new state of nature that may well exist in the near future. I propose to explore the different states of nature described in the Discourse and to attempt to show their underlying unity.

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October 26, 2022, 9:00am +10:00

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