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Encyclopedia > Social Contract
John Locke's writings on the Social Contract were particularly influential among the American Founding Fathers.
John Locke's writings on the Social Contract were particularly influential among the American Founding Fathers.

The term social contract describes a broad class of philosophical theories whose subjects are the implied agreements by which people form nations and maintain a social order. In laymen's terms, this means that the people give up some rights to a government in order to receive social order. Social contract theory provides the rationale behind the historically important notion that legitimate state authority must be derived from the consent of the governed. The starting point for most of these theories is a big penis inn heuristic examination of the human condition absent any social order, termed the “state of nature” or “natural state”. In this state of being, an individual’s action is bound only by his or her conscience. From this common starting point, the various proponents of social contract theory attempt to explain, in different ways, why it is in an individual’s rational self-interest to voluntarily subrogate the freedom of action one has under the natural state (their so called “natural rights”) in order to obtain the benefits provided by the formation of social structures. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 460 × 599 pixels Full resolution (875 × 1140 pixel, file size: 129 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) A portrait of John Locke. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 460 × 599 pixels Full resolution (875 × 1140 pixel, file size: 129 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) A portrait of John Locke. ... For other persons named John Locke, see John Locke (disambiguation). ... “Founders” redirects here. ... For other uses, see Nation (disambiguation). ... Social order is a concept used in sociology, history and other social sciences. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Consent of the governed is a political theory stating that a governments legitimacy and moral right to use state power is, or ought to be, derived from the people or society over which that power is exercised. ... Look up Heuristic in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... State of nature is a term in political philosophy used in social contract theories to describe the hypothetical condition of humanity before the states foundation and its monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force. ... For other uses, see Universalism (disambiguation). ...


Common to all of these theories is the notion of a sovereign will which all members of a society are bound by the social contract to respect. The various flavors of social contract theory that have developed are largely differentiated by their definition of the sovereign will, be it a King (monarchy), a Council (oligarchy) or The Majority (republic or democracy). Under a theory first articulated by Plato in his Socratic dialog Crito, members within a society implicitly agree to the terms of the social contract by their choice to stay within the society. Thus implicit in most forms of social contract is that freedom of movement is a fundamental or natural right which society may not legitimately require an individual to subrogate to the sovereign will. The Crito (IPA [kriːtɔːn]; in English usually [ˈkɹiːtɘʊː]) is a short but important dialogue by the ancient Greek philosopher, Plato. ... For other uses, see Society (disambiguation). ...


Thomas Hobbes (1651), John Locke (1689), and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1762) are the most famous philosophers of contractarianism, which formed the theoretical groundwork of democracy. Although the theory of natural rights influenced the development of classical liberalism, its emphasis on individualism and its rejection of the necessity to subordinate individual liberty to the sovereign will stands in opposition to the general tenets of social contract theory.[1] “Hobbes” redirects here. ... For other persons named John Locke, see John Locke (disambiguation). ... Jean-Jacques Rousseau, (June 28, 1712 – July 2, 1778) was a Genevan philosopher of the Enlightenment whose political ideas influenced the French Revolution, the development of socialist theory, and the growth of nationalism. ... Classical liberalism (also known as traditional liberalism[1] and laissez-faire liberalism[2]) is a doctrine stressing the importance of human rationality, individual property rights, natural rights, the protection of civil liberties, constitutional limitations of government, free markets, and individual freedom from restraint as exemplified in the writings of Adam...

Contents

Overview

State of nature & social contract

According to Hobbes' and canonical theory, the essence is as follows: Without society, we would live in a state of nature, where we each have unlimited natural freedoms. The downside of this general autonomy is that it includes the "right to all things" and thus the freedom to harm all who threaten one's own self-preservation; there are no positive rights, only laws of nature and an endless "war of all against all" (Bellum omnium contra omnes, Hobbes 1651). In other words, anyone in the state of nature can do anything he likes; but this also means that anyone can do anything he likes to anyone else. To avoid this, we jointly agree to a social contract by which we each gain civil rights in return for subjecting ourselves to civil law or to political authority. In Hobbes' formulation, the sovereign power is not a party of the contract but instead the sovereign is its creation, and so is not bound by it. State of nature is a term in political philosophy used in social contract theories to describe the hypothetical condition of humanity before the states foundation and its monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force. ... Positive law is a legal term having more than one meaning. ... A law of nature, as used in Leviathan (book) by Thomas Hobbes is a precept, or general rule, found out by reason, by which a man is forbidden to do that which is destructive of his life, or takes away the means of preserving the same; and to omit that... Bellum omnium contra omnes, a Latin phrase meaning the war of all against all, is the description that Thomas Hobbes gives to human existence in the state of nature thought experiment that he conducts in Leviathan (1651). ... Civil rights or positive rights are those legal rights retained by citizens and protected by the government. ...


Alternatively, some have argued that we gain civil rights in return for accepting the obligation to respect and defend the rights of others, giving up some freedoms to do so; this alternative formulation of the duty arising from the social contract is often identified with militia, or defense activity. Lebanese Kataeb militia A Militia is an army composed of ordinary [1] citizens to provide defense, emergency or paramilitary service, or those engaged in such activity. ...


A fictional state of nature?

There is scholarly debate over whether the various theorists of social contract believed in a genuine historical state of nature and in a social contract that was actually made by our distant ancestors, or whether they saw it as a "thought experiment" or just-so story, a way of saying that all rational creatures would inevitably consent to such a contract. Rousseau's 1754 Discourse on the Origin and Basis of Inequality Among Men can be described as more a fictional remembrance of what has passed than a realistic description of what happened; but the ambiguity persists and seems to be inherent in the theories.[2] Jean Jacques Rousseaus Discourse on Inequality, written for the Academy of Dijon in 1754, is an attempt to answer the question What is the origin of inequality among men, and is it authorized by natural law? Rousseau had won a previous competition with his 1st Discourse and was not...


Hobbes conceives of the state of nature as a brutal struggle of all against all, a conception that may have been influenced by his experience of the English Civil War. Locke saw mankind as more inherently social, and his state of nature was more akin to the kind of society in which tribal peoples such as the American Indians lived, one in which there already existed basic social mechanisms and norms.


Violations of the contract

The social contract and the civil rights it gives us are neither "natural" nor permanently fixed. Rather, the contract itself is the means towards an end — the benefit of all — and (according to some philosophers such as Locke or Rousseau), is only legitimate to the extent that it meets the general interest. Therefore, when failings are found in the contract, we renegotiate to change the terms, using methods such as elections and legislature. Locke theorized the right of rebellion in case of the contract leading to tyranny. Civil rights or positive rights are those legal rights retained by citizens and protected by the government. ... For other uses, see Universalism (disambiguation). ... The right of rebellion is a right permitted by John Locke in his social contract theory. ... This page is about the religious concept of Tyranny. ...


Since rights come from agreeing to the contract, those who simply choose not to fulfill their contractual obligations, such as by committing crimes, risk losing some of their rights, and the rest of society can be expected to protect itself against the actions of such outlaws. To be a member of society is to accept responsibility for following its rules, along with the threat of punishment for violating them. Most of us are comfortable with laws punishing behavior that harms people because we are concerned about others harming us and don't plan on harming others. In this way, society works by "mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon" (Hardin 1968). An outlaw is a person living outside the law. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Look up Punishment in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Some rights are defined in terms of the negative obligation they impose on others. For example, your basic property rights entail that everyone else refrain from taking what is yours. Rights can also involve positive obligations, such as the right to have stolen property returned to you, which obligates others to give you back what's yours when they find it in the hands of others (or, in modern society, to send the police in to do it). Theorists argue that a combination of positive and negative rights is necessary to create an enforceable contract that protects our interests. A Negative right is a right, either moral or decreed by law, to not be subject to an action of another (usually abuse or coercion) so that restraint is incumbent upon another, as opposed to a positive right which is a right to be provided with something by the positive...


History

Classical thought

[3]. Some have argued that Epicurus explicitly endorsed "social contract" ideas; the last fourth of his Principal Doctrines state that justice comes from agreement not to harm each other, and in laws being made for mutual advantage (pleasure, happiness), and that laws which are no longer advantageous are no longer just. In this sense, the Greeks had little to do with contractualism as it is formulated by modern philosophy: conventionalism is in fact quite the opposite of contractualism, since it considers justice to be the product of social conventions (as in the sophists' acceptation of the term), while contractualism considers nature to be the grounds of justice. Epicurus (Greek ) (341 BC, Samos – 270 BC, Athens) was an ancient Greek philosopher and the founder of Epicureanism, a popular school of thought in Hellenistic Philosophy that spanned about 600 years. ... Social contract theory (or contractarianism) is a concept used in philosophy, political science and sociology to denote an implicit agreement within a state regarding the rights and responsibilities of the state and its citizens, or more generally a similar concord between a group and its members, or between individuals. ... Belief that judgments of a specific sort are grounded only on (explicit or implicit) agreements in human society, rather than by reference to external reality. ... This article is about the concept of justice. ... Sophism was originally a term for the techniques taught by a highly respected group of philosophy and rhetoric teachers in ancient Greece. ...


Renaissance developments

Quentin Skinner has argued that several critical modern innovations in contract theory are found in the writings from French Calvinists and Huguenots, whose work in turn was invoked by writers in the low countries who objected to their subjection to Spain and, later still, by Catholics in England.[4] Among these, Francisco Suárez (1548-1617), from the School of Salamanca, might be considered as an early theorist of the social contract, theorizing natural law in an attempt to limit the divine right of absolute monarchy. All of these groups were led to articulate notions of popular sovereignty by means of a social covenant or contract: all of these arguments began with proto-“state of nature” arguments, to the effect that the basis of politics is that everyone is by nature free of subjection to any government. However, these arguments relied on a corporatist theory found in Roman Law, according to which "a populus" can exist as a distinct legal entity. Therefore these arguments held that a community of people can join into a government because they have the capacity to exercise a single will and make decisions with a single voice in the absence of sovereign authority—a notion rejected by Hobbes. // Quentin Robert Duthie Skinner (born 26 November 1940) is Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge University. ... Francisco Suárez (1548–1617) was a Spanish philosopher and theologian, generally regarded as having been the greatest scholastic after Thomas Aquinas. ... The School of Salamanca is the renaissance of thought in diverse intellectual areas by Spanish theologians, rooted in the intellectual and pedagogical work of Francisco de Vitoria. ... Natural law or the law of nature (Latin: lex naturalis) is an ethical theory that posits the existence of a law whose content is set by nature and that therefore has validity everywhere. ... Divine Right is a comic book created by Jim Lee and published by Wildstorm. ... Forms of government Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Absolute monarchy is a monarchical form of government where the monarch has the power to rule his or her land or country and its citizens freely, with no laws or legally-organized direct opposition in force. ...


It is largely as a result of having rejected this medieval, Roman-Legal, and Aristotelian notion that in common parlance, contractualism refers to the theory of sovereignty first elaborated by Hobbes in the 17th century. His book Leviathan is generally considered to be a landmark of absolutism. Frontispiece of Leviathan, etching by Abraham Bosse, with input from Hobbes For other uses, see Leviathan (disambiguation). ... The term absolutism can mean: A belief in absolute truth moral absolutism, the belief that there is some absolute standard of right and wrong political absolutism, a political system where one person holds absolute power, also called apolytarchy from Gr. ...


Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan (1651)

The first modern philosopher to articulate a detailed contract theory was Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), who contended that people in a state of nature ceded their individual rights to create sovereignty, retained by the state, in return for their protection and a more functional society, so social contract evolves out of pragmatic self-interest. Hobbes named the state Leviathan, thus pointing to the artifice involved in the social contract. “Hobbes” redirects here. ... 1588 was a leap year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar or a leap year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar. ... Events January 24 - King Charles II of England disbands Parliament August 7 - The brigantine Le Griffon, which was commissioned by René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, is towed to the southern end of the Niagara River, to become the first ship to sail the upper Great Lakes. ... State of nature is a term in political philosophy used in social contract theories to describe the hypothetical condition of humanity before the states foundation and its monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force. ... For other uses, see Universalism (disambiguation). ... “Sovereign” redirects here. ... Frontispiece of Leviathan, etching by Abraham Bosse, with input from Hobbes For other uses, see Leviathan (disambiguation). ...


Jean-Jacques Rousseau Du Contrat social (1762)

Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), in his influential 1762 treatise The Social Contract, Or Principles of Political Right, outlined a different version of contract theory, based on the conception of popular sovereignty, defined as indivisible and inalienable - this last trait explaining Rousseau's aversion for representative democracy and his advocacy of direct democracy. Rousseau's theory has many similarities with the individualist Lockean liberal tradition, but also departs from it on many significant points. For example, his theory of popular sovereignty includes a conception of a "general will", which is more than the simple sum of individual wills: it is thus collectivist or holistic, rather than individualist. As an individual, Rousseau argues, the subject can be egoist and decide that his personal interest should override the collective interest. However, as part of a collective body, the individual subject puts aside his egoism to create a "general will", which is popular sovereignty itself. Popular sovereignty thus decides only what is good for society as a whole: Jean Jacques Rousseau (June 28, 1712 – July 2, 1778) was a Franco-Swiss philosopher, writer, political theorist, and self-taught composer of The Age of Enlightenment. ... // Events Treaty of Aargau signed between Catholic and Protestants. ... Year 1778 (MDCCLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the 11-day slower Julian calendar). ... From an early pirated edition possibly printed in Germany [1] The Social Contract, Or Principles of Political Right (1762) by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, is the book in which Rousseau theorised about social contracts. ... Pooybuttpular sovereignty is the doctrine that the state is created by and therefore subject to the will of its people, who are the source of all political power. ... This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedias deletion policy. ... Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principles of popular sovereignty by the peoples representatives. ... Direct democracy, classically termed pure democracy,[1] comprises a form of democracy and theory of civics wherein sovereignty is lodged in the assembly of all citizens who choose to participate. ... For judgements of value about collectivism and individualism, see individualism and collectivism. ... Collectivism, in general, is a term used to describe a theoretical or practical emphasis on the group, as opposed to (and seen by many of its opponents to be at the expense of) the individual. ... Whole redirects here. ... Egoist may mean an egoist, someone with a philosophical self-involvement amounting to egoism (who may or may not be an egotist, i. ...

"[The social contract] can be reduced to the following terms. Each of us puts his person and and all his power in common under the supreme direction of the general will; and in a body we receive each member as an indivisible part of the whole"[5].

Hence, Rousseau's infamous phrase that man must "be forced to be free"[6] should be understood as such: since individual subjects resign their free will, as in Hobbes's theory, to form popular sovereignty; besides, since the indivisible and inalienable popular sovereignty decides what is good for the whole, then if an individual lapses back into his ordinary egoism, he shall be forced to listen to what they decided as a member of the collectivity.


Rousseau's version of the social contract is the one most often associated with the term "social contract" itself. His theories had an influence on both the 1789 French Revolution and the subsequent formation of the socialist movement. Furthermore, one can note that, as in Locke or Hobbes' theories, Rousseau gave particular attention to subjective and individual questions, as in his Confessions for example. The French Revolution (1789–1815) was a period of political and social upheaval in the political history of France and Europe as a whole, during which the French governmental structure, previously an absolute monarchy with feudal privileges for the aristocracy and Catholic clergy, underwent radical change to forms based on... Socialism is a social and economic system (or the political philosophy advocating such a system) in which the economic means of production are owned and controlled collectively by the people. ... Confessions is an autobiographical book by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. ...


Pierre-Joseph Proudhon's individualist social contract (1851)

While Rousseau's social contract is based on popular sovereignty and not on individual sovereignty, there are other theories espoused by individualists, libertarians and anarchists, which do not involve agreeing to anything more than negative rights and creates only a limited state, if at all. This is related to the non-aggression principle. Pooybuttpular sovereignty is the doctrine that the state is created by and therefore subject to the will of its people, who are the source of all political power. ... For judgements of value about collectivism and individualism, see individualism and collectivism. ... This article deals with the libertarianism as defined in America and several other nations. ... Anarchist redirects here. ... The non-aggression principle (also called the non-aggression axiom, anticoercion principle, or zero aggression principle) is a deontological ethical stance associated with the libertarian movement. ...


Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (18091865) advocated a conception of social contract which didn't involve an individual surrendering sovereignty to others. According to him, the social contract was not between individuals and the state, but rather between individuals themselves refraining from coercing or governing each other, each one maintaining complete sovereignty upon oneself: Pierre Joseph Proudhon. ... Year 1809 (MDCCCIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar). ... 1865 (MDCCCLXV) is a common year starting on Sunday. ...

"What really is the Social Contract? An agreement of the citizen with the government? No, that would mean but the continuation of [Rousseau’s] idea. The social contract is an agreement of man with man; an agreement from which must result what we call society. In this, the notion of commutative justice, first brought forward by the primitive fact of exchange, …is substituted for that of distributive justice … Translating these words, contract, commutative justice, which are the language of the law, into the language of business, and you have commerce, that is to say, in its highest significance, the act by which man and man declare themselves essentially producers, and abdicate all pretension to govern each other"
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century (1851).

This idea of a social contract that excludes intervention by the state in individual liberty was also followed by other individualist anarchists, such as Benjamin Tucker (an enthusiast of Proudhon's writings) who said "Mankind is approaching the real social contract, which is not, as Rousseau thought, the origin of society, but rather the outcome of a long social experience, the fruit of its follies and disasters. It is obvious that this contract, this social law, developed to its perfection, excludes all aggression, all violation of equality and liberty, all invasion of every kind." (Liberty, VII, 1890) Distributive justice - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... Benjamin Ricketson Tucker Benjamin Ricketson Tucker (April 17, 1854 – June 22, 1939) was the leading proponent of American individualist anarchism in the 19th century. ... Liberty was a 19th century peroidical published in the United States by American individualist anarchist Benjamin Tucker. ...


John Rawls's Theory of Justice (1971)

John Rawls (1921-2002)proposed a contractarian approach that has a decidedly Kantian flavour, in A Theory of Justice (1971), whereby rational people in a hypothetical "original position," setting aside their individual preferences and capacities under a "veil of ignorance," would agree to certain general principles of justice. This idea is also used as a game-theoretical formalization of the notion of fairness. John Rawls (February 21, 1921 – November 24, 2002) was an American philosopher, a professor of political philosophy at Harvard University and author of A Theory of Justice (1971), Political Liberalism, Justice as Fairness: A Restatement, and The Law of Peoples. ... Year 1921 (MCMXXI) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar). ... Also see: 2002 (number). ... Immanuel Kant Immanuel Kant (April 22, 1724 – February 12, 1804) was a Prussian philosopher, generally regarded as one of Europes most influential thinkers and the last major philosopher of the Enlightenment. ... A Theory of Justice is a book of political and moral philosophy by John Rawls. ... The original position is a hypothetical situation created by American philosopher John Rawls as a thought experiment to replace the imagery of a savage state of nature of prior political philosophers like Thomas Hobbes. ... The veil of ignorance is a concept introduced by John Rawls in A Theory of Justice. ... Game theory is a branch of applied mathematics that is often used in the context of economics. ...


Philip Pettit's conception of republicanism (1997)

Philip Pettit (b. 1945) has argued, in Republicanism: A Theory of Freedom and Government (1997), that the theory of social contract, classically based on the consent of the governed (as it is assumed that the contract is valid as long as the people consent to being governed by its representatives, who exercise sovereignty), should be modified, in order to avoid dispute. Instead of arguing that an explicit consent, which can always be manufactured, should justify the validity of social contract, Philip Pettit argues that the absence of an effective rebellion against the contract is the only legitimacy of it. Philip Pettit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... Year 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar). ... Republicanism is the ideology of governing a nation as a republic, with an emphasis on liberty, rule by the people, and the civic virtue practiced by citizens. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Consent of the governed is a political theory stating that a governments legitimacy and moral right to use state power is, or ought to be, derived from the people or society over which that power is exercised. ... Manufacturing Consent may refer to: Manufacturing Consent: Changes in the Labor Process under Monopoly Capitalism, a 1979 book by Michael Burawoy Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, a 1988 book by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, a 1992 documentary...


Criticism

Hume

An early critic of the validity of social contract theory was David Hume. In his essay "Of the Original Contract", contained in his Essays Moral and Political (1748), Hume stressed that the contract theory of government was not supported by available historical data.


Social contract is a violation of contract theory?

According to the will theory of contract, which was dominant in the 19th century and still exerts a strong influence, a contract is not presumed valid unless all parties agree to it voluntarily, either tacitly or explicitly, without coercion. Lysander Spooner, a 19th century lawyer and staunch supporter of a right of contract between individuals, in his essay No Treason, argues that a supposed social contract (of the Rousseauean sort) cannot be used to justify governmental actions such as taxation, because government will initiate force against anyone who does not wish to enter into such a contract. As a result, he maintains that such an agreement is not voluntary and therefore cannot be considered a legitimate contract at all. However, the philosophical concept of social contract does not address the same issues as present-day juridical contract theory, making the name "social contract" potentially misleading. For this reason some thinkers, such as James Madison, preferred the term social compact. The key notion of social contract or compact is that the individual consents by entering or remaining on the dominion of an existing society, which is usually a geographic territory, in much the same way one does when entering or remaining in someone's household or private property. People are normally brought up from childhood to respect the boundaries of societies, including families, and the rules made by them for their territorial spaces. That is part of the socialization development process. Lysander Spooner (January 19, 1808 – May 14, 1887) was an American individualist anarchist political philosopher, abolitionist, and legal theorist of the 19th century. ... No Treason is an essay by American individualist anarchist, political philosopher and legal theorist Lysander Spooner. ... Contract theory comprises many different theories and various interpretations of the various body of rules and subrules that define Contract Law. ... “Madison” redirects here. ...


As legal scholar Randy Barnett has argued,[7] however, while presence in the territory of a society is necessary for consent, it is not consent to any rules the society might make, and a second condition of consent is that the rules be consistent with underlying principles of justice and the protection of natural and social rights, and have procedures for effective protection of those rights (or liberties). This has also been discussed by O.A. Brownson,[8] who argued that there are, in a sense, three "constitutions" involved: The first the constitution of nature that includes all of what the Founders called "natural law". The second would be the constitution of society, an unwritten and commonly understood set of rules for the society formed by a social contract before it establishes a government, by which it does establish the third, a constitution of government. To consent, a necessary condition is that the rules be constitutional in that sense. Randy Barnett Randy E. Barnett (born February 5, 1952) is a lawyer, a law professor at Georgetown University Law Center, and a legal theorist in the United States. ...


Modern Anglo-American law, like European civil law, is based on a will theory of contract, according to which all terms of a contract are binding on the parties because they chose those terms for themselves. This was less true when Hobbes wrote Leviathan; then, more importance was attached to consideration, meaning a mutual exchange of benefits necessary to the formation of a valid contract, and most contracts had implicit terms that arose from the nature of the contractual relationship rather than from the choices made by the parties. Accordingly, it has been argued that social contract theory is more consistent with the contract law of the time of Hobbes and Locke than with the contract law of our time, and that features in the social contract which seem anomalous to us, such as the belief that we are bound by a contract formulated by our distant ancestors, would not have seemed as strange to Hobbes' contemporaries as they do to us.[9]


Implicit social contract theory presupposes its conclusion

The theory of an implicit social contract holds that by remaining in the territory controlled by some government, people give consent to be governed. This consent is what gives legitimacy to the government. Philosopher Roderick Long argues that this is a case of question begging, because the argument has to presuppose its conclusion: Roderick Long Roderick Long (born February 4, 1964) is a professor of philosophy at Auburn University and libertarian political commentator. ... There are two current usages to the phrase Begging the question. Recently, in popular usage, it is often used as a synonym for raising the question. However the original meaning, still recommended by most prescriptive writers on Standard English usage, is quite different: it describes a type of logical fallacy...

I think that the person who makes this argument is already assuming that the government has some legitimate jurisdiction over this territory. And then they say, well, now, anyone who is in the territory is therefore agreeing to the prevailing rules. But they’re assuming the very thing they're trying to prove – namely that this jurisdiction over the territory is legitimate. If it's not, then the government is just one more group of people living in this broad general geographical territory. But I've got my property, and exactly what their arrangements are I don't know, but here I am in my property and they don't own it – at least they haven't given me any argument that they do – and so, the fact that I am living in "this country" means I am living in a certain geographical region that they have certain pretensions over – but the question is whether those pretensions are legitimate. You can’t assume it as a means to proving it.[10]

An answer to this argument is that a society which has effective dominion over a territory, that is, a state, is the sovereign over that territory, and therefore the true, legal owner of all of it. This is actually the theory of law for real property in every country. What individuals can own is not the land itself, but an estate in the land, that is, a transferrable right to use and exclude others from use. The true owner is the sovereign, or supreme lawmaking authority, because it can make and enforce laws that restrict what one can do on one's estate. For other uses, see State (disambiguation). ... “Sovereign” redirects here. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Estate is a term used in the common law. ...


Ronald Dworkin's Law's Empire (1986)

In his 1986 book Law's Empire, Ronald Dworkin touches briefly on social contract theory, firstly distinguishing between the use of social contract theory in an ethical sense, to establish the character or content of justice (such as John Rawls' A Theory of Justice) and its use in a jurisprudential sense as a basis for legitimate government. Ronald Dworkin (born 1931) is an American legal philosopher, and currently professor of Jurisprudence at University College London and the New York University School of Law. ...


Dworkin argues that if every citizen were a party to an actual, historical agreement to accept and obey political decisions in the way his community's political decisions are in fact taken, then the historical fact of agreement would provide at least a good prima facie case for coercion even in ordinary politics: Look up prima facie in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

So some political philosophers have been tempted to say that we have in fact agreed to the social contract of that kind tacitly, by just not emigrating when we reach the age of consent. But no one can argue that very long with a straight face. Consent cannot be binding on people, in the way this argument requires, unless it is given more freely, and with more genuine alternate choice, than just by declining to build a life from nothing under a foreign flag. And even if the consent were genuine, the argument would fail as an argument for legitimacy, because a person leaves one sovereign only to join another; he has no choice to be free from sovereigns altogether. [11]

A typical counterargument is that the choice is not limited to tacit consent to the status quo vs. expatriation, but also includes accepting the contract, then working to alter the parts that are disagreed with, as by participating in the political process.


Another counterargument is that there is tacit consent as long as there is somewhere else to go, even if life there is difficult or impossible, or the regime there oppressive. A society has dominion over its territory and the sovereign power to make the rules for it, but no duty to provide a comfortable alternative. By this argument, the Universe is not organized for our comfort or convenience, and life is often not a choice between good and bad, but among the alternatives that are available, which may all be bad. “Sovereign” redirects here. ...


Criticisms of natural right

Contractualism is based on a philosophy of rights being agreed to in order to further our interests, which is a form of individualism: each individual subject is accorded individual rights, which may or may not be inalienable, and form the basis of civil rights, as in the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. It must be underlined, however, as Hannah Arendt did on her book on imperialism, that the 1789 Declarations, in this agreeing with the social contract theory, bases the natural rights of the human-being on the civil rights of the citizen, instead of doing the reverse as the contractualist theory pretends to do.[12] However, this individualist and liberal approach has been criticized since the 19th century by thinkers such as Marx, Nietzsche or Freud, and afterward by structuralist and post-structuralist thinkers, such as Lacan, Althusser, Foucault, Deleuze or Derrida. Several of those philosophers have attempted, in a spinozist inspiration, of thinking some sort of transindividuality which would precede the division between individual subject and collective subject (i.e. society). Individualism is a term used to describe a moral, political, or social outlook that stresses human independence and the importance of individual self-reliance and liberty. ... Subject (philosophy) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... Civil rights or positive rights are those legal rights retained by citizens and protected by the government. ... Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen: Revolutionary patriotism borrows familiar iconography of the Ten Commandments Wikisource has original text related to this article: Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (French: La... Hannah Arendt (October 14, 1906 – December 4, 1975) was a German Jewish political theorist. ... Cecil Rhodes: Cape-Cairo railway project. ... Marx is a common German surname. ... Friedrich Nietzsche, 1882 Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (October 15, 1844 - August 25, 1900) was a highly influential German philosopher. ... Sigmund Freud His famous couch Sigmund Freud (May 6, 1856 - September 23, 1939) was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of the psychoanalytic school of psychology, a movement that popularized the theory that unconscious motives control much behavior. ... Structuralism as a term refers to various theories across the humanities, social sciences and economics many of which share the assumption that structural relationships between concepts vary between different cultures/languages and that these relationships can be usefully exposed and explored. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... Jacques Lacan Jacques Lacan (April 13, 1901 – September 9, 1981) was an influential French psychoanalyst as well as a structuralist who based much of his theories on Ferdinand de Saussures theories on language. ... Louis Althusser (October 19, 1918 _ October 23, 1990) was a Marxist philosopher. ... Michel Foucault (IPA pronunciation: ) (October 15, 1926 – June 25, 1984) was a French philosopher and historian. ... Gilles Deleuze (January 18, 1925 - November 4, 1995) was a major French philosopher of the late 20th century. ... Jacques Derrida Jacques Derrida (July 15, 1930 – October 8, 2004) was an Algerian-born French literary critic and philosopher of Jewish descent, considered the first to develop deconstruction. Positioning Derridas thought Derrida had a significant effect on continental philosophy and on literary theory, particularly through his long-time... Baruch Spinoza Benedictus de Spinoza (November 24, 1632 - February 21, 1677), named Baruch Spinoza by his synagogue elders and known as Bento de Spinoza or Bento dEspiñoza in the community in which he grew up. ...


See also

A contract is a legally binding exchange of promises or agreement between parties that the law will enforce. ... The Debian Social Contract is a document framing the core moral agenda of the Debian Project. ... This bas-relief depicting the signing of the Mayflower Compact is on Bradford Street in Provincetown directly below the Pilgrim Monument. ... Kohlbergs stages of moral development are planes of moral adequacy conceived by Lawrence Kohlberg to explain the development of moral reasoning. ... The Monarchomachs (French: Monarchomaques) were originally French Huguenots theorists who opposed absolute monarchy at the end of the 16th century, known in particular for having theorized tyrannicide. ... The right of rebellion is a right permitted by John Locke in his social contract theory. ... Social capital is a core concept in business, economics, organizational behaviour, political science, and sociology, defined as the advantage created by a persons location in a structure of relationships. ... Social Justice in the Liberal State [1] is a book written by Bruce A. Ackerman, recipient of the French Order of Merit, [2] Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale, and the author of fifteen books that have had a broad influence in political philosophy, constitutional law, and... The School of Salamanca is the renaissance of thought in diverse intellectual areas by Spanish theologians, rooted in the intellectual and pedagogical work of Francisco de Vitoria. ... Professor Thomas Donaldson writes, teaches, and consults in the areas of business ethics, values, and leadership. ... In the absence of expressed consent (see Consent Theory), the State (at least in Westminster Democracies such as the US and Commonwealth of Nations countries), assumes that consent has been given by the populace for conventions of convenience, the classic example being that we all stop at red lights. ...

References

Notes

  1. ^ Sturgis, Amy H. The Rise, Decline, and Reemergence of Classical Liberalism, Lockesmith Institute, 1994.
  2. ^ An overview of the "ambiguity" on Rousseau's state of nature is contained in Christopher Kelly, "Rousseau's 'peut-etre': Reflections on the status of the state of nature" Modern Intellectual History 3,1 (2006), 75-83.
  3. ^ Social Contract Theory - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  4. ^ Quentin Skinner, The Foundations of Modern Political Thought: Volume 2: The Age of the Reformation (Cambridge, 1978)
  5. ^ Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Oeuvres complètes, ed. B. Gagnebin and M. Raymond (Paris, 1959-95), III, 361; The Collected Writings of Rousseau, ed. C. Kelley and R. Masters (Hanover, 1990-), IV, 139.
  6. ^ Oeuvres complètes, III, 364; The Collected Writings of Rousseau, IV, 141
  7. ^ Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty, Randy Barnett (2004)
  8. ^ The American Republic: its Constitution, Tendencies, and Destiny, O. A. Brownson (1866)
  9. ^ Joseph Kary, "Contract Law and the Social Contract: What Legal History Can Teach Us About the Political Theory of Hobbes and Locke", 31 Ottawa Law Review 73 (Jan. 2000)
  10. ^ See Long, Roderick. Libertarian Anarchism: Responses to Ten Objections, Section (1).
  11. ^ See Ronald Dworkin, Law's Empire, Fontana Press, 1986, p192-3.
  12. ^ Hannah Arendt's book on Imperialism was published in 1951 in The Origins of Totalitarianism, but was written apart. This interpretation by Hannah Arendt of natural rights being based on civil rights founds its illustration with the growing number of refugees and stateless people. Giorgio Agamben would further explore it, with his concept of an Homo sacer: "the so-called sacred and inalienable rights of man prove to be completely unprotected at the very moment it is no longer possible to characterize them as rights of the citizens of a state" (Agamben, 2005)

Ronald Dworkin (born 1931) is an American legal philosopher, and currently professor of Jurisprudence at University College London and the New York University School of Law. ... The Origins of Totalitarianism is a book by Hannah Arendt, dedicated to her husband Heinrich Blücher. ... Giorgio Agamben (born 1942) is an Italian philosopher who teaches at the Università IUAV di Venezia. ... Homo sacer (Latin for the sacred man) is an obscure figure of Roman law: a person who is banned, may be killed by anybody, but may not be sacrificed in a religious ritual. ...

Other references

  • Ankerl, Guy. Toward a Social Contract on a Worldwide Scale. Geneva: ILO, 1980, ISBN 9290141654.
  • Dworkin, Ronald. Law's Empire, Fontana Press, 1986,
  • Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan (1651)
  • Locke, John. Second Treatise on Government (1689)
  • Pettit, Philip. Republicanism: A Theory of Freedom and Government, NY: Oxford U.P., 1997, ISBN 0-19-829083-7, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997
  • Rawls, John. A Theory of Justice (1971)
  • Robinson, Dave & Groves, Judy (2003). Introducing Political Philosophy. Icon Books. ISBN 1-84046-450-X.
  • Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. The Social Contract, or Principles of Political Right (1762)
  • Hardin, Garrett. The Tragedy of the Commons (1968)

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  Results from FactBites:
 
Social contract - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2868 words)
Social contract theory (or contractarianism) is a concept used in philosophy, political science, and sociology to denote an implicit agreement within a state regarding the rights and responsibilities of the state and its citizens, or more generally a similar concord between a group and its members, or between individuals.
All members within a society are assumed to agree to the terms of the social contract by their choice to stay within the society without violating the contract; such violation would signify a problematic attempt to return to the state of nature.
The first modern philosopher to articulate a detailed contract theory was Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), who contended that people in a state of nature ceded their individual rights to create sovereignty, retained by the state, in return for their protection and a more functional society, so social contract evolves out of pragmatic self-interest.
Social contract - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (501 words)
Social contract is a phrase used in philosophy, political science, and sociology to denote a hypothetical agreement within a state regarding the rights and responsibility of the state and its citizens, or more generally a similar concord between a group and its members.
In the same way that implicit contracts in these circumstances standardize interactions to make them simpler and cheaper to support, enhancing the value of capital, social contract can likewise increase the social capital (a formal term for trust), and what's more this is measurable.
The Social Contract is also a term used to by both the Labour government of Harold Wilson in 1970s Britain and the New Democratic Party government of Bob Rae in 1990s Ontario to describe attempts to impose austerity measures on the labour movement.
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