This paper provides a small summary of Social Contract Theory by Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau. In this book, he gave a striking exposition of the theory of Social Contract. I further analyse how they are different from each other, and why that may be so. Thus, the authority or the government or the sovereign or the state came into being because of the two agreements. This contract is constituted by two distinguishable contracts. In Hobbes’ view, this mechanistic quality of human psychology implies the subjective nature of normative claims. Like Hobbes and Locke before him, and in contrast to the ancient philosophers, all men are made by nature to be equals, therefore no one has a natural right to govern others, and therefore the only justified authority is the authority that is generated out of agreements or covenants. In the early Platonic dialogue, Crito, Socrates makes a compelling argument as to why he must stay in prison and accept the death penalty, rather than escape and go into exile in another Greek city. Thomas Hobbes, 1588-1679, lived during the most crucial period of early modern England’s history: the English Civil War, waged from 1642-1648. It is inspired by Carole Pateman’s The Sexual Contract, and seeks to show that non-whites have a similar relationship to the social contract as do women. Society becomes possible because, whereas in the State of Nature there was no power able to “overawe them all”, now there is an artificially and conventionally superior and more powerful person who can force men to cooperate. Because Locke did not envision the State of Nature as grimly as did Hobbes, he can imagine conditions under which one would be better off rejecting a particular civil government and returning to the State of Nature, with the aim of constructing a better civil government in its place. Any one person would reach the same conclusion as any other person concerning the most basic principles that must regulate a just society. Being unable to commit injustice with impunity (as those who wear the ring of Gyges would), and fearing becoming victims themselves, men decide that it is in their interests to submit themselves to the convention of justice. Hobbes argues for this by imagining men in their natural state, or in other words, the State of Nature. 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. 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. 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. Since the State of Nature lacks civil authority, once war begins it is likely to continue. Hobbes had no mind to give the theory of the origin of the State. Prior to the establishment of the basic social contract, according to which men agree to live together and the contract to embody a Sovereign with absolute authority, nothing is immoral or unjust – anything goes. Such a model is more likely to match up with many of the moral experiences of most people, especially women. For Rawls, as for Kant, persons have the capacity to reason from a universal point of view, which in turn means that they have the particular moral capacity of judging principles from an impartial standpoint. But so too are the critiques of such theory, which will continue to compel us to think and rethink the nature of both ourselves and our relations with one another. 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. Rights and freedoms are often used interchangeably. When there is one group solely in charge of the social contract, it can be manipulated in a way that benefits the group instead of the individuals that form the group. 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. In Hobbes Social Contract Theory, there is no scope for revolt and rebellion. 1977. 4. These two views are, however, reconcilable. Most importantly however, according to Rousseau, was the invention of private property, which constituted the pivotal moment in humanity’s evolution out of a simple, pure state into one characterized by greed, competition, vanity, inequality, and vice. Hampton, Jean. 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. Hobbes defended the absolute monarchy through this theory of social contract. Hobbes’s human, is therefore, radically individual, in a way that is specifically owing to the character of modern masculinity. Rather, it is populated by mothers and fathers with their children, or families – what he calls “conjugal society” (par. We are endowed with freedom and equality by nature, but our nature has been corrupted by our contingent social history. “Pilgrim’s Progress: Review of David Gauthier, Morals by Agreement.”, Braybrooke, David. Social Contract Theory By Locke: Locke’s social contract theory is different from Hobbes. We, including all of our actions and choices, are then, according to this view, as explainable in terms of universal laws of nature as are the motions of heavenly bodies. 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. One implication of this is that the strong form of democracy which is consistent with the general will is also only possible in relatively small states. He sought to provide a theory of human nature that would parallel the discoveries being made in the sciences of the inanimate universe. (There is a reasonable argument to be made that we can find in Hobbes a primitive version of the problem of the Prisoner’s Dilemma.). “Why Contractarianism?” in Vallentyne 1991: 13-30. The Bill of Rights to the US Constitution, for example, offers US citizens the “right” to freely exercise their religion, be able to speak their mind, while also being able to peaceable assemble. This racial contract is to some extent a meta-contract, which determines the bounds of personhood and parameters of inclusion and exclusion in all the other contracts that come after it. The Social Contract Theory is intended to understand and showcase the origin of society and how it was formed. These groups would cede some of their individual rights with the purpose of having other groups be able to cede their rights. It could not. ) 97) and submit themselves to the will of that body. In other words, the justification of the authority of the executive component of government is the protection of the people’s property and well-being, so when such protection is no longer present, or when the king becomes a tyrant and acts against the interests of the people, they have a right, if not an outright obligation, to resist his authority. 6). For the most part, feminism resists any simple or universal definition. Given the implications of the Law of Nature, there are limits as to how much property one can own: one is not allowed to take more from nature than one can use, thereby leaving others without enough for themselves. Theorizing from within the emerging tradition of care ethics, feminist philosophers such as Baier and Held argue that social contract theory fails as an adequate account of our moral or political obligations. Social contract theories differ about the object of the contract. It is a place where self-interest is present because there is an absence of any rights. Each reasons: “If she confesses, then I should confess, thereby being sentenced to five years instead of ten. Imagine what that sort of leadership could do if it was on a global scale. In addition to Subjectivism, Hobbes also infers from his mechanistic theory of human nature that humans are necessarily and exclusively self-interested. Modern patriarchy is characterized by a contractual relationship between men, and part of that contract involves power over women. To describe this conflict in the most general of terms, it was a clash between the King and his supporters, the Monarchists, who preferred the traditional authority of a monarch, and the Parliamentarians, most notably led by Oliver Cromwell, who demanded more power for the quasi-democratic institution of Parliament. According to this argument, morality, politics, society, and everything that comes along with it, all of which Hobbes calls ‘commodious living’ are purely conventional. The prisoner’s dilemma challenges both the mechanics and the outcome of that thought experiment. He argues, radically for his times, that political authority and obligation are based on the individual self-interests of members of society who are understood to be equal to one another, with no single individual invested with any essential authority to rule over the rest, while at the same time maintaining the conservative position that the monarch, which he called the Sovereign, must be ceded absolute authority if society is to survive. It can add and subtract, and compare sums one to another, and thereby endows us with the capacity to formulate the best means to whatever ends we might happen to have. His psychological theory is therefore informed by mechanism, the general view that everything in the universe is produced by nothing other than matter in motion. In his later statement of hisview, Rawls took the object of agreement to be principles of justiceto regulate “the basic structure:” For Rawls, as for most c… “Morals by agreement” are therefore created out of the rationality of exclusively self-interested agents. “Feminist Contractarianism.” In Antony, Louise M. and Witt, Charlotte (Editors). The most classical representatives of this school of thought which will be talked about according to existence are Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and J.J.Rousseau. And if she does not confess, then I should confess, thereby being sentenced to one year instead of two. And, having made an agreement that is itself just, Socrates asserts that he must keep to this agreement that he has made and obey the Laws, in this case, by staying and accepting the death penalty. One joins such a body, either from its beginnings, or after it has already been established by others, only by explicit consent. The model of “economic man” cannot, therefore, fairly claim to be a general representation of all persons. It can, however devolve into a state of war, in particular, a state of war over property disputes. According to that story, a band of brothers, lorded over by a father who maintained exclusive sexual access to the women of the tribe, kill the father, and then establish a contract among themselves to be equal and to share the women. They have in them the rational capacity to pursue their desires as efficiently and maximally as possible. Just or unjust war of all against all, life, nasty, brutish and short. Locke’s arguments for the social contract, and for the right of citizens to revolt against their king were enormously influential on the democratic revolutions that followed, especially on Thomas Jefferson, and the founders of the United States. Their status as full persons accords them greater social power. Hobbes And Rousseau On The Social Contract Theory 1625 Words | 7 Pages. In his 1986 book, Morals by Agreement, David Gauthier set out to renew Hobbesian moral and political philosophy. This means that economic inequalities are only justified when the least advantaged member of society is nonetheless better off than she would be under alternative arrangements. He believed that all humans had equal ability to kill one and other creating a constant state of insecurity. In the State of Nature, every person is always in fear of losing his life to another. Hobbes’s social contract theory the right of rebellion against the monarchy and did not support the separations of power. Having done this, they then become subject to the will of the majority. (This led Locke to conclude that America didn’t really belong to the natives who lived there, because they were, on his view, failing to utilize the basic material of nature. You’d have groups without leadership in place instead of individuals. ‘Hobbes own goal was to rule out the ligiamacy of civil rebellion and thus to eliminate the possibility of civil war; which he regarded as the greatest of evils. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 1712-1778, lived and wrote during what was arguably the headiest period in the intellectual history of modern France–the Enlightenment. In the original position, behind the veil of ignorance, one is denied any particular knowledge of one’s circumstances, such as one’s gender, race, particular talents or disabilities, one’s age, social status, one’s particular conception of what makes for a good life, or the particular state of the society in which one lives. In a similar vein, Held has argued that the model of “economic man” fails to capture much of what constitutes meaningful moral relations between people. Having argued that any rational person inhabiting the original position and placing him or herself behind the veil of ignorance can discover the two principles of justice, Rawls has constructed what is perhaps the most abstract version of a social contract theory. You work together as a neighborhood to protect the homes of one another. Persons are assumed to be equal to one another in such a state, and therefore equally capable of discovering and being bound by the Law of Nature. Once again, the social contracts would need to come into play. So, this is the fundamental philosophical problem that The Social Contract seeks to address: how can we be free and live together? The gradual disintegration of memory, for example, can be explained by inertia. 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. People living in an anarchic state are individuals where their state of nature is asocial and apolitical. In the State of Nature, which is purely hypothetical according to Hobbes, men are naturally and exclusively self-interested, they are more or less equal to one another, (even the strongest man can be killed in his sleep), there are limited resources, and yet there is no power able to force men to cooperate. So, such behaviors as walking, talking, and the like are themselves produced by other actions inside of us. This prevents social contracts from being implemented, which makes it impossible to form a society. This means each state must be in perpetual warfare with each other because no individual would be above the state. 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. Patriarchal control of women is found in at least three paradigmatic contemporary contracts: the marriage contract, the prostitution contract, and the contract for surrogate motherhood. Karl Marx's Critique of the Social Contract of Thomas Hobbes Hobbes came forward with the explanation of social contract theory, where he defined it as ruler powers which cannot be challenged. 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. The first and most important law of nature commands that each man be willing to pursue peace when others are willing to do the same, all the while retaining the right to continue to pursue war when others do not pursue peace. Comparison of Social Contract Theories of Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau 1. “Hobbes’s Social Contract.”. So, no matter what she does, I should confess.” The problem is that when each reason this way, they each confess, and each goes to prison for five years. On the one hand he rejects the theory of the Divine Right of Kings, which is most eloquently expressed by Robert Filmer in his Patriarcha or the Natural Power of Kings, (although it would be left to John Locke to refute Filmer directly). These societies are based on the voluntary agreements to care for children together, and they are moral but not political. So, only if a rising tide truly does carry all boats upward, can economic inequalities be allowed for in a just society. Carole Pateman’s 1988 book, The Sexual Contract, argues that lying beneath the myth of the idealized contract, as described by Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau, is a more fundamental contract concerning men’s relationship to women. And surrogate motherhood can be understood as more of the same, although in terms of access to women’s reproductive capacities. In general though, feminists take women’s experiences seriously, as well as the impact that theories and practices have for women’s lives. Ultimately, this means we naturally want to keep certain borders in place. The social compact can be dissolved and the process to create political society begun anew. This ‘original pact’ is made by brothers, literally or metaphorically, who, after overthrowing the rule of the father, then agree to share their domination of the women who were previously under the exclusive control of one man, the father. (Rousseau had previously won the same essay contest with an earlier essay, commonly referred to as the First Discourse.) Because no one has any of the particular knowledge he or she could use to develop principles that favor his or her own particular circumstances, in other words the knowledge that makes for and sustains prejudices, the principles chosen from such a perspective are necessarily fair. 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