A Discourse on the Moral Effects of the Arts and Sciences (French: Discours sur les sciences et les arts) is a 1750 essay by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. It was originally composed in response to a competition announced by the Academy of Dijon,asking whether the restoration of the arts and sciences had contributed to the purification of morals.
Rousseau won the competition, and earned instant notoriety, by answering in the negative. This affirmation of nature over civilisation set him on the intellectual path that would shape much of his later work.
Free online texts
Gutenberg: The Social Contract & The Discourses. EPUB, HTML, MOBI and TXT formats.
Internet Archive: The Social Contract and the Discourses, translated with an introduction by G.D.H. Cole. Everyman's Library edition (1920). EPUB, MOBI, PDF and TXT formats.
University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): The Discourse on the Arts and Sciences, translated by Ian Johnston. EPUB, MOBI and HTML formats.
Wikisource: French text. Multiple editions. HTML and other formats.
Librivox: Discourse sur les Sciences et les Arts (French language version). Free public domain audiobook.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Jean Jacques Rousseau.
Wikipedia: Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Discourse on the Arts and Sciences
French Language resources
Rousseau: Discourse on Inequality - often known as the Second Discourse, with the Discourse on the Arts and Sciences being the first.
Rousseau: The Social Contract