rousseau s second discourse

1. “Here, then, all our faculties developed, memory and imagination in play, pride [amour-propre] involved, reason activated, and the mind having almost reach the extent of the perfection of which it is susceptible. Here are all the natural qualities set in action, the rant and fate of each man based not only on the quantity of goods and the power to help or harm, but on the mind, beauty, strength, or skill, on merit or talents. And since these qualities are the only ones that could attract consideration, it was soon necessary to have them or to affect them. For one’s advantage, it was necessary to appear to be different from what one in fact was. To be and to appear became two entirely different things, and from this distinction came ostentatious display, deceitful cunning, and all the vices that followed in their wake.” (Rousseau, Second Discourse, p. 100)

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  1. Papers are to be submitted as a physical copy no more than one week after we have discussed the text in class.
  2. The passage you are writing about should be at the beginning of your response. Quote the passage as a single-spaced block quotation without quotation marks. The author, text, and page or section number of the passage should be cited in parentheses at the end of the passage. See the example below:

The causality of reason in the intelligible character does not arise or start working at a certain time in producing an effect. For then it would itself be subject to the natural law of appearance, to the extent that this law determines causal series in time, and its causality would then be nature and not freedom. Thus we could say that if reason can have causality in regard to appearances, then it is a faculty through which the sensible condition of an empirical series of effects first begins. For the condition that lies in reason is not sensible and does not itself begin. Accordingly, there takes place here what we did not find in any empirical series: that the condition of a successive series could itself be empirically unconditioned. (Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, A551/B579–A552/B580)

  1. Your own response should be double-spaced. It should be no longer than two printed pages total, including the passage quoted at the beginning.

4. Your task is to explain the passage in detail by drawing out clearly the central concepts or claims (explicit or implied), and situating the passage in the broader argument of the text in which it appears. The fundamental aim of this assignment is to interpret the text, not to evaluate it.

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