return to list of latest ideas

Single Idea 19762

[catalogued under 25. Society / A. State of Nature / 1. A People / b. The natural life]

Full Idea

Which was more necessary: an already formed society for the invention of languages, or an already invented language for the establishment of society?

Gist of Idea

Is language a pre-requisite for society, or might it emerge afterwards?

Source

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Discourse on the Origin of Inequality [1755], Part I)

A Reaction

Rousseau declines to attempt an answer. Ants and bees seem to do well, but have some means of communication. Ape colonies are quite sophisticated.

Book Reference

Rousseau,Jean-Jacques: 'The Basic Political Writings', ed/tr. Cress,Donald A. [Hackett 1987], p.51