This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Rousseau's Discourse On The Arts And Sciences

1932 words - 8 pages

Rousseau's Discourse on the Arts and Sciences

Jean-Jacques Rousseau has been called both the father of the French Revolution and a rascal deserving to hunted down by society (Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, p. 462). His works, controversial in his lifetime, have lost little of their ability to inspire debate in the seceding two hundred years. Although much of this debate has focused on Rousseau's political theories, his works on morality have not been exempted from the controversy. Much of the controversy surrounding his Discourse on the Arts and Sciences relates to Rousseau's self-proclaimed role of societal critic. In this Discourse, Rousseau attacks the rise of empiricism. To him, a world based on knowledge, such as the one proposed in Bacon's New Atlantis, was immoral and destructive. This view was met with much criticism and disdain. Indeed, by taking such a view, Rousseau attacked the very core of the Enlightenment.
However, the Discourse is not only a rebuttal of empiricism. It is also an intensely personal look into Rousseau. In it, Rousseau's alienation and nostalgic feelings are clearly revealed. To Rousseau, the past was idyllic: "One cannot reflect on morals, without taking delight in recalling the image of the simplicity of the first times. It is a fair shore, adorned by the hands of nature alone, towards which one forever turns one's eyes, and from which one feels oneself moving away with regret (Discourse, p. 18). Yet it was not the past itself Rousseau found attractive, but the moral society which could only flourish in the absence of the malevolence created by the arts and sciences. Such was their sinister power, that even 'savage' man was more moral than a society full of art and science (Discourse, p. 5 n and Last Reply, p. 83).
It was to this moral world that Rousseau yearned to return. For him, such a world was full of virtue and the goodness of 'rustic naturalness'. Using Fabricius' voice, Rousseau reveals the depth of his nostalgic longing for a moral world: "Gods, what has become of the thatch roofs and the rustic hearths were moderation and virtue used to dwell? What fatal splendor has replaced Roman simplicity?" (Discourse, p. 12). At the core of Rousseau's morality then, was the idea that the simple and the rustic contained all that was good.
However, mere simplicity and rusticity did not form the whole of Rousseau's morality. Indeed neither simplicity nor rusticity was inherently moral. Rather, each became moral only to the extent they precluded man from becoming idle. Idleness created art and science; art and science created more idleness. Rousseau held, that as this cycle continued, morality would give way to a world in which men devoured men and could not co-exist "...without obstructing, supplanting, deceiving, betraying, destroying" each other (Last Reply, p. 85 and Preface to Narcissus, p. 105).
Rousseau, though he felt that he lived in just such a world, did not seek to destroy the arts...

Find Another Essay On Rousseau's Discourse on the Arts and Sciences

The similarities and differences between the sciences and the arts as intellectual discipline

2354 words - 9 pages , will analyse the facts that are presented to him in order to come up with a theory. In this way the many similarities between the sciences and arts as intellectual disciplines can be seen clearly, they are all ultimately reliant on perception and interpretation.Therefore, it can be assumed that although scientists attempt to distance themselves from and repute any claims that science as a discipline is subject any form of human error and instead

Discussing Ethical Judgments in the Production of Knowledge in Both Arts and Sciences

2542 words - 10 pages between the type of ethical dilemma one is in, the level of tension and intensity surrounding the dilemma, and the context the case facing the dilemma. Firstly, the limitations ethical consideration put on the arts and sciences are primarily targeted on the application of knowledge rather than their methods of production. Similar to ethics, art is produced through personal choice, holding the initial purpose of imitating nature (Mimetic

Ethical judgments limit the methods available in the production of knowledge in both the arts and the natural sciences. Discuss

1675 words - 7 pages would be more knowledge, but there would also be great harms to the people, environment, and society at large. Society limits what knowledge it can have for its own survival. In the natural sciences, ethical judgments limit the method available for the production of knowledge. On the contrary, in the arts methods for the production of knowledge are not limited by ethical judgments. In the arts can knowledge be produced at any time about anything

Ethical judgments limit the methods available in the production of knowledge in both the arts and the natural sciences

752 words - 4 pages process by which an individual determines that one alternative is morally right and another alternative is morally wrong. “Broadly, ethical judgement can be defined so as to include the decision process as well as the action itself.” This essay aims to discuss the way in which ethical judgements limit the methods available in the production of knowledge in both the arts and natural sciences. Scientific research is used in the production of knowledge

Ethical judgements limit the methods available in the production of knowledge in both the arts and the natural sciences. Discuss

1382 words - 6 pages may possibly be allowed to go to when discovering new knowledge. Reason and emotion are important ways of knowing that help guide knowers in making certain moral decisions. Both ways of knowing can be associated with teleological or deontological arguments; the ethics are based on either an objectives-focused or obligations-focused mindset. In this essay, I will be discussing the limitations set on both the arts and the natural sciences as areas of

Ethical judgements limit the methods available in the production of knowledge in both the arts and the natural sciences. Discuss

1318 words - 6 pages The arts are works created by people who want to evoke an aesthetically pleasing response. These responses are more likely to be in the form of emotions. When one creates a piece of art work, the aesthetics, meaning and beauty of it can be detracted by moral values. The arts however are more vulnerable to the implications of moral values than the natural sciences. Arts can be in many different forms, the most common are in paints, pencil

Ethical judgements limit the methods available in the production of knowledge in both the arts and the natural sciences. Discuss

1662 words - 7 pages virtuous intentions. The fact that the destructive effects of the agent only arose later is an example of how ethical judgements failed to predict and limit the impact of chemical research, which subsequently resulted in fatal consequences. When the three different theories of ethics are compared together, they offer varied perspectives on how projects within the arts and the natural sciences should be judged. It appears that none of the

Ethical judgments limit the methods available in the production of knowledge in both the arts and the natural sciences. Discuss

1744 words - 7 pages Knowledge Claim: Ethical judgments can impinge the way we both create the arts and the natural sciences. Knowledge Issue: To what extent do ethical considerations constrain the way the arts and natural sciences are created? Ethical consideration involves reasoning about the possible actions in the situation and judging which action is most ethical. A person making an ethical judgment uses reason to decide what is the best solution or decision

Ethical Judgements Limit the Methods Available in the Production of Knowledge in Both the Arts and the Natural Sciences. Discuss

1850 words - 7 pages to take advantage of them in this way ("Rights and Wrongs." Rights and Wrongs). All of these debates about GM food prevents European countries from conducting massive research on GM food and limits the method for the production of knowledge. Despite these restrictions, there are still research going on in many countries. In my opinion, in both the arts and natural sciences, ethical judgements are ethical considerations, but not ethical

Ethical judgements limit the methods available in the production of knowledge in both arts and the natural sciences. Discuss

1560 words - 6 pages Aalam JhootyMs. GuerraSeptember 17, 2013HZT 4UH-01Ethical judgements limit the methods available in the production of knowledge in both arts and the natural sciences. Discuss.Our entire life is a continuous process of gaining and retaining information, expanding our knowledge as individuals. Most people spend quite a bit of time in their childhood years in school learning, taking in knowledge that has been produced. As a species humans have

Ethical judgments limit the methods available in the production of knowledge in both the arts and natural sciences. Discuss

1598 words - 7 pages Our ethical judgments will always limit us in gaining new knowledge in the arts and natural sciences. There are some methods that would work to uncover new information, but would go against ethical standards set by society such as animal and human testing. There is also the dilemma as to who should be able to access and view the information available. In art, a knowledge issue that arises is how do we determine what is appropriate for people to

Similar Essays

Ethical Judgements In The Arts And Sciences

1628 words - 7 pages Both the arts and the sciences have completely different methods to create knowledge, thus the effects ethical judgments have on the arts and the science are different. Ethics limits the production of knowledge in both the arts and natural sciences, however, in the arts ethical judgments do not limit the methods available in the production of knowledge, rather it limits the propagation of knowledge. On the other hand, ethical judgements do limit

Ethics In The Arts And Natural Sciences

1363 words - 6 pages Ethical judgements often add complex implications to the pursuit of knowledge, regardless of the area of knowledge. In the areas of the arts and natural sciences, ethics can pertain in diverging ways. For the arts, ethics often comes into question when determining whether or not it is worthwhile to sacrifice ethics for artistic choices and messages. For the natural sciences, in contrast, ethics is often debated in the pursuit of new knowledge

The Value Of A Liberal Arts And Sciences Education

1144 words - 5 pages perspectives. Innovation requires thinking and acting out of the box and it is necessary that you can make associations freely, creatively. On account of the liberal education, Liberal Arts and Sciences students have a flexibility of mind. We are not born with the ability to come up with great solutions to world problems, we are educated to be able to do that. The differences between the academic cultures make the students capable of linking different

Variations Of Knowledge In The Arts And Natural Sciences

1541 words - 7 pages The two areas of knowledge that I am going to explore are The Arts and The Natural Sciences. In relation to the question, my initial perspective is that the Arts is an area of knowledge that is somewhat contentious due to its subjective nature, as firstly it can be hard to accept something as art. Conversely, the Natural Sciences is an area of knowledge that is based on objective truths and therefore when I originally approached this question, I