Virginia Held has argued that “Contemporary Western society is in the grip of contractual thinking” (193). I will concentrate therefore on just three of those arguments: Carole Pateman’s argument about the relation between the contract and women’s subordination to men, feminist arguments concerning the nature of the liberal individual, and the care argument. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 1712-1778, lived and wrote during what was arguably the headiest period in the intellectual history of modern France–the Enlightenment. Thomas Hobbes was the first person to come up with the idea of a social contract in his text, Leviathan. Contractarianism is, according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: “The political theory of authority claims that legitimate authority of government must derive from The model of “economic man” cannot, therefore, fairly claim to be a general representation of all persons. This is the naturalized social contract, which Rousseau views as responsible for the conflict and competition from which modern society suffers. People living in an anarchic state are individuals where their state of nature is asocial and apolitical. It discusses what is the social contract theory and … One of the reasons that we continue to think that the problem of race in the West is relatively superficial, that it does not go all the way down, is the hold that the idealized social contract has on our imagination. In Hobbes Social Contract Theory, there is no scope for revolt and rebellion. Given the longstanding and widespread influence that social contract theory has had, it comes as no surprise that it is also the objects of many critiques from a variety of philosophical perspectives. According to Hobbes, the justification for political obligation is this: given that men are naturally self-interested, yet they are rational, they will choose to submit to the authority of a Sovereign in order to be able to live in a civil society, which is conducive to their own interests. In particular, it accords them the power to make contracts, to be the subjects of the contract, whereas other persons are denied such privilege and are relegated to the status of objects of contracts. Hobbes represents a compromise between these two factions. She argues that Hobbes’s conception of the liberal individual, which laid the groundwork for the dominant modern conception of the person, is particularly masculine in that it is conceived as atomistic and solitary and as not owing any of its qualities, or even its very existence, to any other person, in particular its mother. That is, there is to be as much civil liberty as possible as long as these goods are distributed equally. According to Gauthier, when interacting in Prisoner’s Dilemma-like situations, where the actions of others can affect one’s own outcome, and vice versa, rationality shows that one’s own interest is best pursued by being cooperative, and therefore agents rationally dispose themselves to the constrain the maximization of their own utility by adopting principles of morality. Justice is the state of a well-regulated soul, and so the just man will also necessarily be the happy man. Having introduced private property, initial conditions of inequality became more pronounced. For Rousseau the invention of property constitutes humanity’s ‘fall from grace’ out of the State of Nature. But this may not be enough to adequately reveal the full extent of what it means to be a moral person, and how fully to respond to others with whom one interacts through relations of dependence. Celeste Friend He was one of the bright lights of that intellectual movement, contributing articles to the Encyclopdie of Diderot, and participating in the salons in Paris, where the great intellectual questions of his day were pursued. Being reasonable, and recognizing the rationality of this basic precept of reason, men can be expected to construct a Social Contract that will afford them a life other than that available to them in the State of Nature. Social Contract theories of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. Hobbes has, first and foremost, a particular theory of human nature, which gives rise to a particular view of morality and politics, as developed in his philosophical masterpiece, Leviathan, published in 1651. According to Hobbes, even the reason that adults care for small children can be explicated in terms of the adults’ own self-interest (he claims that in saving an infant by caring for it, we become the recipient of a strong sense of obligation in one who has been helped to survive rather than allowed to die). In doing so, Hobbes proposes, humans would be able to focus on other aspects of life instead of living in perpetual warfare. Because of the abundance of nature and the small size of the population, competition was non-existent, and persons rarely even saw one another, much less had reason for conflict or fear. In addition to Subjectivism, Hobbes also infers from his mechanistic theory of human nature that humans are necessarily and exclusively self-interested. The Scientific Revolution, with its important new discoveries that the universe could be both described and predicted in accordance with universal laws of nature, greatly influenced Hobbes. Rawls’ theory of justice constitutes, then, the Kantian limits upon the forms of political and social organization that are permissible within a just society. For Rousseau, this implies an extremely strong and direct form of democracy. Rights ensure specific freedoms that are protected by a social contract. He does this by imagining persons in a situation prior to the establishment of society, the State of Nature. He invokes this point of view (the general view that Thomas Nagel describes as “the view from nowhere”) by imagining persons in a hypothetical situation, the Original Position, which is characterized by the epistemological limitation of the Veil of Ignorance. Rawls’ original position is his highly abstracted version of the State of Nature. Contract theory represents itself as being opposed to patriarchy and patriarchal right. People slowly began to live together in small families, and then in small communities. That is why the first 10 amendments to the US Constitution are called the “Bill of Rights” and not the “Bill of Freedoms.”. We are infinitely appetitive and only genuinely concerned with our own selves. Since a return to the State of Nature is neither feasible nor desirable, the purpose of politics is to restore freedom to us, thereby reconciling who we truly and essentially are with how we live together. The social compact can be dissolved and the process to create political society begun anew. According to Locke, the State of Nature is not a condition of individuals, as it is for Hobbes. And this is one of the strongest reasons that men have to abandon the State of Nature by contracting together to form civil government. To survey all of the feminist responses to social contract theory would carry us well beyond the boundaries of the present article. And these other actions are themselves caused by the interaction of our bodies with other bodies, human or otherwise, which create in us certain chains of causes and effects, and which eventually give rise to the human behavior that we can plainly observe. This contract is not hypothetical, as Hobbes describes the one argued for in his Leviathan. It simply seeks out a definition and purpose for why humanity is willing to cede certain freedoms to create governing states. Hobbes himself defined the idea of the social contract as “the mutual transfer of right” to achieve security and safety. Both SMs and CMs take into account the strategies of the other with whom they interact. According to the story of the Prisoner’s Dilemma, two people have been brought in for questioning, conducted separately, about a crime they are suspected to have committed. Because of this equality, everyone is willing to fight one another. That is why Hobbes sees the social contracts that are formed between groups as such a necessity. It is highly abstract because rather than demonstrating that we would or even have signed to a contract to establish society, it instead shows us what we must be willing to accept as rational persons in order to be constrained by justice and therefore capable of living in a well ordered society. The distinction between history and justification, between the factual situation of mankind and how it ought to live together, is of the utmost importance to Rousseau. Social contract theory According to the social contract theory by eminent sociologist Thomas Hobbes: society came into being as a means for the protection of men against the consequences of their own nature. So in the end, although Plato is perhaps the first philosopher to offer a representation of the argument at the heart of social contract theory, Socrates ultimately rejects the idea that social contract is the original source of justice. C.B. (Locke’s social contract, for example, is set by him in stark contrast to the work of Robert Filmer who argued in favor of patriarchal power.) Having done this, they then become subject to the will of the majority. Might never makes right, despite how often it pretends that it can. You’d have groups without leadership in place instead of individuals. Political society comes into being when individual men, representing their families, come together in the State of Nature and agree to each give up the executive power to punish those who transgress the Law of Nature, and hand over that power to the public power of a government. The normative social contract, argued for by Rousseau in The Social Contract (1762), is meant to respond to this sorry state of affairs and to remedy the social and moral ills that have been produced by the development of society. However, social contract theory is rightly associated with modern moral and political theory and is given its first full exposition and defense by Thomas Hobbes. Hobbes And Rousseau On The Social Contract Theory 1625 Words | 7 Pages. Whereas the State of Nature is the state of liberty where persons recognize the Law of Nature and therefore do not harm one another, the state of war begins between two or more men once one man declares war on another, by stealing from him, or by trying to make him his slave. Man in the state of nature was in perpetual conflict as neighbours on account of their own selfish nature. He has access to rational choice theory and its sophisticated methodology for showing how such cooperation can arise. As the overall population increased, the means by which people could satisfy their needs had to change. One cannot transfer one’s will to another, to do with as he or she sees fit, as one does in representative democracies. We have seen this occur multiple times at a national level in the 20th century, from the atrocities of the Third Reich to the totalitarian dictatorship of Pol Pot. It is not the case that we have a political system that was perfectly conceived and unfortunately imperfectly applied. Hobbes and Rousseau on the Social Contract Theory The social contract theory focuses on the origin of states and laws, and the impact of regulated communities or states on individuals. The relation between natural an This fact, that one form of patriarchy was not overthrown completely, but rather was replaced with a different form, in which male power was distributed amongst more men, rather than held by one man, is illustrated by Freud’s story of the genesis of civilization. So, justice is more than the simple reciprocal obedience to law, as Glaucon suggests, but it does nonetheless include obedience to the state and the laws that sustain it. Property is the linchpin of Locke’s argument for the social contract and civil government because it is the protection of their property, including their property in their own bodies, that men seek when they decide to abandon the State of Nature. In this “Social Contract Theory, Hobbes, as well as other political philosophers such as John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau are to be known as Contractarians. That is the social contract between the people that are governed and the government that governs them. The enslavement of millions of Africans and the appropriation of the Americas from those who inhabited them, are examples of this racial contract at work in history (such as Locke’s claim that Native Americans did not own the land they lived on because they did not farm it and therefore did not own it). Held, Virginia. According to this view, then, political obligation is subsumed under religious obligation. When you have personal property, you have a natural desire to protect it. Imagine what that sort of leadership could do if it was on a global scale. However, had they each remained silent, thereby cooperating with each other rather than with the police, they would have spent only two years in prison. According to Locke, the State of Nature, the natural condition of mankind, is a state of perfect and complete liberty to conduct one’s life as one best sees fit, free from the interference of others. And if she does not confess, then I should confess, thereby being sentenced to one year instead of two. 1977. Justice, however, is more than simply obeying laws in exchange for others obeying them as well. This is a universal claim: it is meant to cover all human actions under all circumstances – in society or out of it, with regard to strangers and friends alike, with regard to small ends and the most generalized of human desires, such as the desire for power and status. Just or unjust war of all against all, life, nasty, brutish and short. People lived solitary, uncomplicated lives. In particular, she offers up the paradigm of the mother-child relationship to at least supplement the model of individual self-interested agents negotiating with one another through contracts. Analysis of the theory of Social Contract by Thomas Hobbes 1. Since the sovereign is invested with the authority and power to mete out punishments for breaches of the contract which are worse than not being able to act as one pleases, men have good, albeit self-interested, reason to adjust themselves to the artifice of morality in general, and justice in particular. This racial contract determines in the first place who counts as full moral and political persons, and therefore sets the parameters of who can ‘contract in’ to the freedom and equality that the social contract promises. We should become “constrained maximizers” (CMs) rather remain the “straightforward maximizers” (SMs) that we would be in a State of Nature (167). Rather, the general will depends on the coming together periodically of the entire democratic body, each and every citizen, to decide collectively, and with at least near unanimity, how to live together, i.e., what laws to enact. Christine Di Stefano, in her 1991 book Configurations of Masculinity, shows that a number of historically important modern philosophers can be understood to develop their theories from within the perspective of masculinity, as conceived of in the modern period. This contract is constituted by two distinguishable contracts. Since the State of Nature lacks civil authority, once war begins it is likely to continue. The most basic covenant, the social pact, is the agreement to come together and form a people, a collectivity, which by definition is more than and different from a mere aggregation of individual interests and wills. Socrates uses something quite like a social contract argument to explain to Crito why he must remain in prison and accept the death penalty. This prevents social contracts from being implemented, which makes it impossible to form a society. Following Pateman’s argument, a number of feminists have also called into question the very nature of the person at the heart of contract theory. According to Gauthier, rationality is a force strong enough to give persons internal reasons to cooperate. Without a state in power, humanity would be in a constant state of war. In this book, he gave a striking exposition of the theory of Social Contract. The enforcement mechanism has been internalized. (notes) (b 204?) The Law of Nature, which is on Locke’s view the basis of all morality, and given to us by God, commands that we not harm others with regards to their “life, health, liberty, or possessions” (par. Entering into such agreements is to our own advantage, and so rationality convinces us to both make such agreements and stick to them as well. Baier argues that Gauthier, who conceives of affective bonds between persons as non-essential and voluntary, therefore fails to represent the fullness of human psychology and motivations. From Mills’ perspective then, racism is not just an unhappy accident of Western democratic and political ideals. In Book II, Glaucon offers a candidate for an answer to the question “what is justice?” by representing a social contract explanation for the nature of justice. 124) is the preservation of their wealth, and preserving their lives, liberty, and well-being in general, Locke can easily imagine the conditions under which the compact with government is destroyed, and men are justified in resisting the authority of a civil government, such as a King. Given that the end of “men’s uniting into common-wealths”( par. The incentives for reneging are supposedly strong … He sought to provide a theory of human nature that would parallel the discoveries being made in the sciences of the inanimate universe. Macpherson, for example, has argued that Hobbesian man is, in particular, a bourgeois man, with the characteristics we would expect of a person during the nascent capitalism that characterized early modern Europe. We should understand ourselves as individual Robinson Crusoes, each living on our own island, lucky or unlucky in terms of our talents and the natural provisions of our islands, but able to enter into negotiations and deals with one another to trade goods and services with one another. Developed in 1651, the Thomas Hobbes social contract theory that looks to address the origin of society. Both SMs and CMs are exclusively self-interested and rational, but they differ with regard to whether they take into account only strategies, or both the strategies and utilities, of whose with whom they interact. He rules out a representative form of government. Then laws would be created to govern the social interactions that people would have so that the initial social contract could be maintained. In this article, I trace the origins of the social contract by Thomas Hobbes and improvements by John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau and describe each of them in detail. 78). From Socrates’ point of view, a just man is one who will, among other things, recognize his obligation to the state by obeying its laws. These societies are based on the voluntary agreements to care for children together, and they are moral but not political. Human macro-behavior can be aptly described as the effect of certain kinds of micro-behavior, even though some of this latter behavior is invisible to us. The second is his normative, or idealized theory of the social contract, and is meant to provide the means by which to alleviate the problems that modern society has created for us, as laid out in the Social Contract. The racial contract makes possible and justifies some people, in virtue of their alleged superiority, exploiting the peoples, lands, and resources of other races. The liberal individual is purported to be universal: raceless, sexless, classless, disembodied, and is taken to represent an abstract, generalized model of humanity writ large. In addition to being exclusively self-interested, Hobbes also argues that human beings are reasonable. Hobbes had no mind to give the theory of the origin of the State. The first principle states that each person in a society is to have as much basic liberty as possible, as long as everyone is granted the same liberties. It is the state of perpetual and unavoidable war. One such critique, that of Carole Pateman, has influenced philosophers writing outside of feminist traditions. Many philosophers have argued, however, that when we look more closely at the characteristics of the liberal individual, what we find is not a representation of universal humanity, but a historically located, specific type of person. One joins such a body, either from its beginnings, or after it has already been established by others, only by explicit consent. Modern patriarchy is characterized by a contractual relationship between men, and part of that contract involves power over women. It discusses what is the social contract theory and the reason. You work together as a neighborhood to protect the homes of one another. In such a position, behind such a veil, everyone is in the same situation, and everyone is presumed to be equally rational. In other words, they didn’t farm it, so they had no legitimate claim to it, and others could therefore justifiably appropriate it.) In 1972, the publication of John Rawls‘ extremely influential A Theory of Justice brought moral and political philosophy back from what had been a long hiatus of philosophical consideration. And if they both cooperate with police by informing on each other, then the police will have enough to send each to prison for five years. Having been born, the city of Athens, through its laws, then required that his father care for and educate him. Men’s relationships of power to one another change, but women’s relationship to men’s power does not. 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