The Philosopher Rousseau And A Biography Of Him Along With Some Of His Beliefs

1273 words - 5 pages

RousseauBiographyRousseau was a French Philosopher who was born in Geneva on June 28, 1712. (He died at Ermenonville on July 2, 1778). His mother died upon giving birth to him, while his father wasn't much help to him, as he was a violently tempered man and finally deserted him in his flee from the law. This was because, his father committed a minor offense, which would have resulted in his imprisonment, had he been caught. In his mother and father's absence, Rousseau developed a love for reading, and an uncanny fondness for "Plutarch's Lives". He first apprenticed himself to a notary, and then to a coppersmith. But he soon ran away due to the harsh discipline in 1728. After wandering for several days, he decided to become a Roman Catholic priest at Consignon in Savory. He was then shuttled around between different households, and other educational institutions. He was once accused of theft in one such household, and after the incident, was sent to Chambery in 1730. Madame de Warens then removed him, and in her care he began eight years diverting himself to the enjoyment of nature, the study of music, the reading of English, German, and French. He also studied the many philosophers before his time, modern chemistry, and all the while, pursuing the study of mathematics and Latin, and enjoying the playhouse and opera. Under the Madame's able care and mentoring, he grew into a very intelligent man, and became an assistant secretary to an ambassador (Comte de Montaignu from 1744-1745) in Venice for eighteen months. Up until this time in his life, he was unknown to the public eye, and his accomplishments had not accounted to very much, but around the time he turned 39, he returned to Paris and all this changed. Once in Paris, he copied music, but the opera he wrote " Les Muses Galantes" failed. He became the secretary of Madame Dupin, where he came into the acquaintance of Diderot, Grimm, D'Alembert, Holbach, and Madame D'Epinay. These people all had an influence on his life, and possibly helped to get him his admittance as a contributor to the Encyclopedia. While contributing to the Encyclopedia, he began his early writings on philosophy in which he "contended that man was essentially good" and a "noble savage" when in the "state of nature" and that, good people are made unhappy but corrupted by their experiences in society. (Essentially, people are not born evil. They are made that way through experiences brought upon them by outside experiences in society.) He viewed that society is "artificial" and "corrupt" and that the furthering of society results in the continuing unhappiness of man.Rousseau's essay, "Discourse on the Arts and Sciences" (published in 1750) argued that the advancement of art and science had not been beneficial to mankind. He also proposed that the progression of knowledge had made governments more powerful and crushed individual liberties. Thus, he concluded that material progress had actually undermined the possibility of...

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