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Symmetria Wellness Group

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Jack Adams
Jack Adams

Hobbes Social Contract Theory Pdf Download

This paper provides a small summary of Social Contract Theory by Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau. It discusses what is the social contract theory and the reason. Then the paper points out the State of Nature according to Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau. It also put forth the differences of opinion of these jurists of the State of Nature with regard to social contract and lastly the critical apprehension of the theory of social contract given by Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau.

Hobbes Social Contract Theory Pdf Download

620 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 27:4 OCTOBER I989 anyone who sticks with him will be rewarded. Glouberman's interpretation is a substantial and considerable contribution to Descartes studies. RICHARD A. WATSON Washington University Jean Hampton. Hobbes and the Social Contract Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986. Pp. xii + 299. $4.5o. In Hobbes and the Social Contract Tradition Professor Hampton undertakes an "extensive examination" of Hobbes's argument, primarily as stated in Leviathan, for the institution of an absolute sovereign. Hampton, however, is concerned to accomplish more than "a description or explication" of Hobbes's political philosophy. Rather, it is her intention to develop a "rational reconstruction" of Hobbes's argument. Only if one seeks "to get the best possible statement of Hobbes's argument for absolute sovereignty will one be able to understand where and why that argument fails" (2). By providing us with an understanding of why Hobbes's argument fails Hampton hopes "to shed light on the general structure of all social contract arguments." More specifically, by indicating the source of the failure of Hobbes's social contract argument Hampton hopes to help us understand "what structure a social contract argument must have if it is to succeed." In this way, it is argued that "the principal reason for studying Hobbes's work is that doing so will improve our understanding of social contract theories generally" (3)Hampton 's understanding of Hobbes's argument, and why it fails, is based primarily upon a distinction between what she terms "alienation" and "agency" social contract theory. Hobbes, Hampton argues, is a proponent of "alienation" contract theory. According to this account the ruler is instituted when the people surrender their power to him. In these circumstances subjects, when authorizing the sovereign, renounce their rights to all things. Thus, Hampton claims, "there is no doubt that Hobbes considers authorization to be an act of enslavement, and the resulting commonwealth to be a union of slaves (albeit willing slaves) within the will of their master" (122). Hampton opposes her own "alienation" interpretation of Hobbes's argument to the "agency" interpretation favored by David Gauthier. On the "agency" view the ruler's power is only loaned to him. The relationship between sovereign and subject is that of agent and principal, rather than master and slave. "Whereas slaves, when they surrender their right of governing themselves, become mere instruments of their master's will, subjects who authorize their ruler only lend their rights to him and thus never lose their selfrulership " (116). The "agency" model, therefore, represents the sovereign as the instrument of the subjects' wills. This interpretation, Hampton maintains, cannot be rendered consistent with the text. In particular, contrary to what is suggested by the agency model, Hobbes clearly rejects the suggestion that the sovereign is in any way subject to the will or judgment of his or her subjects. To interpret Hobbes along these agencymodel lines is to fundamentally misrepresent his position as that of a Lockean Whig. Hampton believes that there is a problem with Hobbes's argument that has been little recognized in recent years by Hobbes scholars, but which is nevertheless "so BOOK REVIEWS 621 serious that it renders the entire Hobbesian justification for absolute sovereignty invalid " 097). Given Hobbesian psychology, no subject is able to do what is required to create an absolute (i.e., unconditional and permanent) sovereign. More specifically, a subject's obedience to the sovereign is conditional on the sovereign's commands not threatening the life of the subject. That is, Hobbes must expect a subject to disobey any command by the sovereign that would threaten his own bodily survival. Moreover, the subjects are the judges of this question. This means that such people are incapable of letting the sovereign determine their every action. By taking this position Hobbes "makes the subjects the judges of whether or not to obey any of the sovereign's laws" (2ol). Clearly, therefore, Hampton suggests, Hobbes is forced to say that an absolute sovereign reigns at his subjects' pleasure and this, obviously, is not "genuine enslavement at all" (202). Hampton argues that the failure of Hobbes's argument reveals fundamental difficulties with the alienation model in...

In recent years serious attempts have been made to systematize and develop the moral and political themes of great philosophers of the past. Kant, Locke, Marx, and the classical utilitarians all have their current defenders and arc taken seriously as expositors of sound moral and political views. It is the aim of this book to introduce Hobbes into this select group by presenting a plausible moral and political theory inspired by Leviathan. Using the techniques of analytic philosophy and elementary game theory, the author develops a Hobbesian argument that justifies the liberal State and reconciles the rights and interests of rational individuals with their obligations.Hobbes's case against anarchy, based on his notorious claim that life outside the political State would be a "war of all against all," is analyzed in detail, while his endorsement of the absolutist State is traced to certain false hypotheses about political sociology. With these eliminated, Hobbes's principles support a liberal redistributive (or "satisfactory") State and a limited right of revolution. Turning to normative issues, the book explains Hobbes's account of morality based on enlightened self-interest and shows how the Hobbesian version of social contract theory justifies the political obligations of citizens of satisfactory States.

Explain the concepts of popular sovereignty, consent of the governed, and the social contract, and how these concepts influenced the American Revolution and founding documents like the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

At the domestic level, social contract theory is perhaps most susceptible to criticism with respect to the question of Origins. Because no living person has ever experienced an initial situation like the state of nature or the original position, there is good reason to be skeptical about the state of nature as a literal account of the origin of sovereign power. This objection, most prominently associated with David Hume, holds that the initial situation of social contract theory can only be sensibly invoked as a hypothetical situation, as a thought experiment that establishes a context within which the parties to an agreement are most likely to act rationally or reasonably.[13] It was in this vein, that Hegel characterized the social contract as following from principle (pure thought), which he distinguished from the historical conditions under which the state and its laws developed. How a state was created Hegel maintained, has nothing to do with philosophy.[14]

Beyond the problem of inequality, there are other obstacles to using states as proxies for moral persons in the process of enacting an international social contract. Many states, for example, do not adhere to fundamental moral principles with respect to the way they treat their own people. This makes it unlikely that they would reason in accordance with the principles outlined in Section II. If tyrannical regimes treat their citizens shabbily or cannot or will not represent all of their citizens equally at home, it is unlikely that they will carry norms of equity and reciprocity into international relations.

Just as Rousseau dismissed traditional theories of the social contract only to later propose his own, so too have contemporary philosophers such as Martha Nussbaum, Thomas Pogge, and Charles Beitz introduced a qualitatively different version of the international social contract, one that they believe overcomes some of the problems of that contract, as articulated by Rousseau, Kant, and Rawls.[19]

The fundamental difference in this alternative approach to an international social contract lies in the nature of the parties to the contract. Whereas for Rousseau, Kant, and Rawls, the parties to the international social contract would be states or peoples, for Nussbaum, Pogge, and Beitz, social contract theory makes the most sense at the international level when the parties to the social contract are imagined to be individual human beings. Only when imagined in these terms, these writers argue, will the social contract be construed so as to meet basic liberal principles of justice. On this account, the two-stage model favored by Rawls is replaced with a single original position, in which individual human beings contract to a series of human rights that are not constrained by the contingencies of any particular conception of the state.


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