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Social Contract Theories
 

Social Contract Theories

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Summary slides regarding Social Contract Theory for an undergraduate course in Political Thought that I taught between 2003-2005.

Summary slides regarding Social Contract Theory for an undergraduate course in Political Thought that I taught between 2003-2005.

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    Social Contract Theories Social Contract Theories Presentation Transcript

    • On the Social Contract Theories On the Social Contract Theories
    • Points to Ponder
      • Review
      • Foundations of the state
      • Relationship between citizens and state
      • Context of liberty
      • Powers of the state
    • Human Nature: A Continuum Pessimistic Optimistic HOBBES LOCKE ROUSSEAU Man is “evil”, a wolf unto his fellow man. Man possesses perfect liberty. “ Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains”
    • Summary State guided by the general will. No security or morality. Man is free but ‘immoral’. Rousseau Commonwealth Property is not secure. Man has perfect freedom. Locke Leviathan A state of War. Man is a wolf unto his fellow man. Hobbes Social Contract State of Nature Human Nature
    • State Foundations
      • States are historical institutions
      • However, more fundamentally their moorings are philosophical
        • How states are organized and function depend on our view of human nature
        • Thus questions of governance and law are not just questions of expediency
        • “Is it proper to man?”
    • Citizen-State Relations
      • The state exists for man, and not man for the state
        • A state is a human instrument for the achievement of common interests
        • States do not rob us of our individuality or liberty
        • However, membership in a state comes with obligations to our fellow man
    • Liberty
      • Freedom is not absolute
        • Within a state, freedoms are circumscribed by laws
        • It is necessary to place constraints on freedom for the sake of citizens as well as for the sake of the state
        • We surrender certain freedoms to attain more freedoms
    • State Power
      • The most important power of the state is legislative power
      • Laws depend as much on context as much as content
      • States must also possess enough autonomy to implement their laws
      • State power is also not absolute (unless you agree with Hobbes)