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The birth of justice: an analysis of comparative reason in Rousseau's second discourse

Grant number: 20/04674-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2020
Effective date (End): November 30, 2021
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - History of Philosophy
Principal Investigator:Ricardo Monteagudo
Grantee:Gabriel Von Prata Lazaro
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia e Ciências (FFC). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Marília. Marília , SP, Brazil


The work in question aims to analyze the extent to which the ability to compare is necessary for understanding the concept of justice in Rousseau's Discourse on the Origin and Basis of Inequality Among Men. To this end, we analyze the constitution of the natural human being, proposed in the same work, which does not consider the human being neither good nor bad, notably, he does not have morality, precisely because he does not have the need to use reason and self-reflective instruments potentially present in humans in a state of nature. Rousseau argues that these and other characteristics are only updated in society, since he considers them as potential. For him, once socialized, the human being will never return to the natural state again, due precisely to the appearance and continuous updating of these qualities transformed by perfectibility. Then, it is noticed that there are two moments that constitute the human being for Rousseau. On the one hand, the human being who does not know what is just or unjust, which corresponds to the human being in a state of nature; on the other hand, there is the human being who judges, calculates, and, above all, as he has moral abilities, he can determine something that is just or unfair. Thus, Rousseau's justification is sought, to understand, from these potential qualities - about the changes in the psychological formation of the human being -, the relationship between reason and justice.