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Is Social Agreement

It is almost common today for contemporary social contract theory to be based on a hypothetical, not real, agreement. As we have seen, in a sense, this is certainly the case. In many ways, however, the gap between “hypothetical and real” is artificial: the hypothetical agreement aims to model the real agreement and form its basis. Understanding the contemporary theory of social contracts is most successful, not by insisting on the distinction between real and hypothetical contracts, but by grasping the interaction of the hypothetical and the real. According to this argument, morality, politics, society and everything that accompanies it, everything Hobbes calls the “generous life,” is purely conventional. Before the establishment of the basic social contract, according to which people agree to live together, and the contract to embody a sovereign with absolute authority, nothing is immoral or unjust – everything is allowed. However, once these contracts are concluded, the company becomes possible and it can be expected that people will keep their promises, cooperate with each other, etc. The social contract is the most fundamental source of all that is good and on which we depend to live well. Our choice is either to stick to the terms of the contract or to return to the state of nature that no reasonable person would prefer according to Hobbes.

Rousseau has two different theories of the social contract. The first is found in his essay Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality Among Men, commonly known as the Second Discourse, and is a report on the moral and political development of man over time, from a state of nature to modern society. As such, it contains his naturalized representation of the social contract, which he considers highly problematic. The second is his normative or idealized theory of the social contract and aims to provide the means to mitigate the problems that modern society has created for us, as set forth in the social contract. They say that it is inherently good to do injustice; Suffer injustice, evil; but this evil is greater than good. And when people have both done and suffered injustice and experienced both because they were unable to avoid one and get the other, they think they`d better get along with each other so they don`t have one or the other; therefore, laws and mutual alliances appear; and what is determined by law is called by them legal and just. They affirm that this is the origin and essence of justice; – it is a means or a compromise between the best of all, which is to do evil and not to be punished, and the worst of all, which consists in suffering injustice without the power of reprisals; and justice, which is at the center between the two, is tolerated not as a good, but as a lesser evil, and is honored for the inability of people to do evil. For no man worthy of being called man would ever submit to such an agreement if he were able to resist; he would be crazy if he did. This is the account received, Socrates, about the nature and origin of justice. [7] Quentin Skinner argued that several critical modern innovations in contract theory can be found in the writings of French Calvinists and Huguenots, whose work was in turn invoked by writers in the Netherlands who resisted their submission to Spain, and later by Catholics in England. [11] Francisco Suárez (1548-1617) of the Salamanca School could be considered an early theorist of the social contract, who theorized natural law in order to restrict the divine right of absolute monarchy. All these groups were led to articulate notions of popular sovereignty through a social alliance or contract, and all these arguments began with proto-“state of nature” arguments, in the sense that the basis of politics is that everyone is inherently free to submit to a government.

Social contract theories differ fundamentally depending on whether the parties argue differently or equally. As we saw in Rawls` contract (§2.3), everyone argues in the same way: the collective electoral problem is reduced to the choice of an individual. One person`s decision is a proxy for everyone else. In statutes of this type, the description of the parties (their motivation, the conditions under which they vote) does all the work: once we have completely specified the reasoning of a party, the contract has been identified. The social contract begins with Rousseau`s most frequently quoted phrase: “Man is born free, and he is everywhere chained” (49). This claim is the conceptual bridge between the descriptive work of the Second Discourse and the prescriptive work that will come. Humans are essentially free and have been free in the state of nature, but the “progress” of civilization has replaced this freedom with submission to others, dependence, economic and social inequality, and the extent to which we judge ourselves through comparisons with others. Since a return to the state of nature is neither feasible nor desirable, the purpose of politics is to give us back freedom and thus reconcile who we really are and essentially with the way we live together. So this is the fundamental philosophical problem that the social contract seeks to solve: how can we be free and live together? In other words, how can we live together without succumbing to the violence and coercion of others? We can do this, Rousseau said, by subjecting our individual, special will to the collective or general will created by agreement with other free and equal people. .

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