What Is the Social Contract Theory of the State

The problems with social contract theory are as follows: Although contemporary social contract theorists sometimes still use the language of consent, the central idea of contemporary social contract theory is agreement. “Views of the social contract work from the intuitive idea of agreement” (Freeman 2007a, 17). Now one can approve or accept a principle without that act of advocacy being forced to obey in any way. Social contract theorists as diverse as Samuel Freeman and Jan Narveson (1988, 148) see the act of agreement as an indication of the reasons we have. The agreement is a “test” or heuristic (see §5). The “role of the unanimous collective agreement” is to show “what we must do in our social and political relations” (Freeman 2007, p. 19). Understood in this way, the agreement itself is not a binding act – it is not a performative that somehow creates an obligation – but it is insightful of reason (Lessnoff 1986). When individuals are rational, what they agree with reflects the reasons they have. Contemporary contract theories such as those of Rawls focus on the problem of justification.

Rawls` revival of social contract theory in A Theory of Justice was therefore not based on consent, although the apparatus of an “original agreement” persisted. Recall that for Rawls (1999, 16), the objective is “to address the question of justification […] by developing a problem of consideration. The theory of the social contract follows the principle of fundamental freedom and equality, but the genealogy of the idea comes as an alternative to the critique of the dominant theory of political legitimacy in medieval Europe. Before the work of Hobbes, Grotius, and Locke, the dominant view of political legitimacy rested on the patriarchal power of fathers over their children and reverted to the power God granted to Adam. When Adam died, his elder descendant inherited his authority by primogeniture. As subsequent generations were born, power continued to be passed on in this way, from each head of household to his or her eldest offspring. Eventually, peoples and nations were formed, but all power continued to be derived from God and the principle of primogeniture remained the norm by which sovereign power could be considered legitimate. This representation of sovereign power was most clearly articulated by Robert Filmer in his Patriarcha, which was published posthumously in 1680.

For the filmmakers, the basic premise of social contract theory — that people are born free and equal, no one having authority over others — was both fictitious and incompatible with god`s Word. [3] The normative social contract for which Rousseau pleads in The Social Contract (1762) aims to respond to this sad state of affairs and to remedy the social and moral grievances caused by the development of society. The distinction between history and justification, between the real situation of humanity and how it should live together, is of paramount importance to Rousseau. While we should not ignore the history or causes of the problems we face, we must solve these problems through our ability to decide how to live. Perhaps he never does justice, although he so often claims that it is possible. In general, even without the disasters of natural disasters and war, Hobbes assumed that people would strive for more wealth and power in a society that could be called a “dog eats the dog” society, where, he believed, people will do whatever it takes to survive in a state of nature. in which rules and laws do not exist. This would mean that people will act in “evil” ways to survive, including attacking others before they themselves are attacked.

With the rules in place, people feel protected from attacks. The principles according to which individuals in the original position, behind the veil of ignorance, would choose to regulate a society at the most elementary level (that is, even before a constitution) are quite rightly referred to by Rawls as the two principles of justice. These two principles determine the distribution of civil liberties as well as social and economic goods. The first principle states that every person in a society should have as much fundamental freedom as possible, as long as everyone is granted the same freedoms. That is, there must be as much civil liberty as possible, as long as these assets are evenly distributed. (This would exclude, for example, a scenario in which there is a larger aggregate of civil liberties than in an alternative scenario, but where these freedoms are not evenly distributed among citizens.) The second principle states that while social and economic inequalities can be equitable, they must be equally accessible to all (i.e. no one should be denied access to a greater economic benefit in principle), and that these inequalities must be for the benefit of all. This means that economic inequality is only justified if the most disadvantaged member of society is nevertheless better off than would be the case with other arrangements. Only if a rising tide really lifts all boats up can economic inequality be allowed in a just society. The method of the original position supports this second principle, which is called the principle of difference, because if we stand behind the veil of ignorance and therefore do not know what our situation will be in society once the veil of ignorance is lifted, we will only accept principles that will be to our advantage, even if we find ourselves in the least favored position of society. Modern Anglo-American law, like European civil law, is based on a theory of wills, according to which all contractual conditions are binding on the parties because they have chosen these conditions for themselves.

This was less true than Hobbes Leviathan wrote; At that time, more importance was given to consideration, i.e. a mutual exchange of services necessary for the conclusion of a valid contract, and most contracts contained implied clauses resulting from the nature of the contractual relationship and not from decisions made by the parties. .