Rousseau’s discourse Discussion

Suppose that, in his travels through Europe, Jean-Jacques Rousseau had come upon an animal species that he had never heard of, and began to study them. How would he try to figure out if this species was naturally monogamous? How would he try to figure out if this species was naturally prone to envy, vanity, or cowardice?

Now, suppose you need to figure out whether the human species is naturally monogamous: what evidence would you try to gather, in order to figure it out? What evidence would you try to gather, in order to figure out if the human species is naturally prone to envy, vanity, or cowardice?

Essay Guide (Please, please follow this essay guide and answer the questions. Answers need to be specific, not just briefed answers.)***

I would suggest spending roughly half of your paper writing about the questions in the first paragraph of the prompt and the other half writing about the questions in the second half of the prompt.

For the first half, you should be using the text to support your interpretations. Think about what Rousseau says about what humans and other animals are naturally like. Likewise, think about the cases in which he describes behaviors as unnatural. What evidence does he seem to be taking as relevant to determining what behaviors are natural or unnatural? What is his method? Thinking about this should help you make a judgment about how he would approach the hypothetical new species.

Remember, for the *first half* of the prompt, you do not have to say whether Rousseau would say the hypothetical new species is monogamous, vain, cowardly, or envious. You just have to tell me HOW Rousseau would go about figuring out whether the species naturally has these attributes.

For the second half of the paper, you don’t have to worry so much about referencing the text. This is an opportunity for you to argue for your opinion about the best way to figure out whether monogamy is a natural behavior for humans. How would we start looking for that answer? You should tell me whether you agree with or disagree with Rousseau’s methodology (as you described it in the first half of the paper).

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