Your assignment is to prepare and submit a paper on rousseau’s ideas of natural equality and conventional equality. In the Discourse on the Origin of Inequality he “conceived … two kinds of inequality among the human species: one… [is] natural or physical … [which] is established by nature, and consists difference of age, health, bodily strength, and the qualities of the mind or of the soul and … the moral or political inequality [which] depends on a kind of convention … and at least authorized by the consent of men” (Rousseau “Discourse…” 15). The discussion of the meaning of the two types of inequality is related to the main issues of the paper.
The human condition reflects inequality because civil society on the basis of norms and laws opposes “natural equality” and the concept of the natural man. This can be considered as a radical point of view presented by Rousseau since he expressed that political inequality in the conventional society “consists of different privileges which some men enjoy to prejudice others” (Rousseau “Discourse…” 15). To support the perspective, he defined the foundation concepts of “natural equality” and the norms of civil society. After the recognition of the root of the inequality, he advocated the social contract to be able to achieve “conventional equality.”
In his discourse, Rousseau viewed natural equality as the unblemished form of a “natural man” or a man in the state of nature where equality can be achieved since the affective factors occur mainly in the natural environment, either in the physical or in the moral attributes. In nature, man has his strength and needs. He has his instincts and characters. The complex interactions of his physical and moral facets seek a state of stability. With the factors limited to those related to the natural man and the natural environment, a man then can be considered as a complete unit of an organism by himself. Rousseau presented a natural man in solidarity with neither a family nor a property. This basically means that man is driven by his own view (Rousseau “Discourse…” 17-22).