The concept of social contract theory is that in the beginning man lived in the state of nature. They had no government and there was no law to regulate them. There were hardships and oppression on the sections of the society. To overcome from these hardships they entered into two agreements which are:
They say that to do injustice is, by nature, good; to suffer injustice, evil; but that the evil is greater than the good. And so when men have both done and suffered injustice and have had experience of both, not being able to avoid the one and obtain the other, they think that they had better agree among themselves to have neither; hence there arise laws and mutual covenants; and that which is ordained by law is termed by them lawful and just.
This they affirm to be the origin and nature of justice;—it is a mean or compromise, between the best of all, which is to do injustice and not be punished, and the worst of all, which is to suffer injustice without the power of retaliation; and justice, being at a middle point between the two, is tolerated not as a good, but as the lesser evil, and honoured by reason of the inability of men to do injustice.
For no man who is worthy to be called a man would ever submit to such an agreement if he were able to resist; he would be mad if he did. Such is the received account, Socrates, of the nature and origin of justice. Over time, the social contract theory became more widespread after Epicurus BCthe first philosopher who saw justice as a social contract, and not as existing in Nature due to divine intervention see below and also Epicurean ethicsdecided to bring the theory to the forefront of his society.
As time went on, philosophers of traditional political and social thought, such as Locke, Hobbes, and Rousseau put forward their opinions on social contract, which then caused the topic to become much more mainstream.
The story goes as follows: In the early days of the cosmic cycle mankind lived on an immaterial plane, dancing on air in a sort of fairyland, where there was no need of food or clothing, and no private property, family, government or laws.
Then gradually the process of cosmic decay began its work, and mankind became earthbound, and felt the need of food and shelter. As men lost their primeval glory, distinctions of class arose, and they entered into agreements with one another, accepting the institution of private property and the family.
With this theft, murder, adultery, and other crime began, and so the people met together and decided to appoint one man from among them to maintain order in return for a share of the produce of their fields and herds. He was called "the Great Chosen One" Mahasammataand he received the title of raja because he pleased the people.
The Buddhist vinaya also reflects social contracts expected of the monks; one such instance is when the people of a certain town complained about monks felling saka trees, the Buddha tells his monks that they must stop and give way to social norms.
Epicurus in the fourth century BCE seemed to have had a strong sense of social contract, with justice and law being rooted in mutual agreement and advantage, as evidenced by these lines, among others, from his Principal Doctrines see also Epicurean ethics: Natural justice is a pledge of reciprocal benefit, to prevent one man from harming or being harmed by another.
Those animals which are incapable of making binding agreements with one another not to inflict nor suffer harm are without either justice or injustice; and likewise for those peoples who either could not or would not form binding agreements not to inflict nor suffer harm. There never was such a thing as absolute justice, but only agreements made in mutual dealings among men in whatever places at various times providing against the infliction or suffering of harm.
All of these groups were led to articulate notions of popular sovereignty by means of a social covenant or contract, and all of these arguments began with proto-"state of nature" arguments, to the effect that the basis of politics is that everyone is by nature free of subjection to any government.
These arguments, however, relied on a corporatist theory found in Roman law, according to which "a populus" can exist as a distinct legal entity. Thus, these arguments held that a group of people can join a government because it has the capacity to exercise a single will and make decisions with a single voice in the absence of sovereign authority—a notion rejected by Hobbes and later contract theorists.
Philosophers[ edit ] Hugo Grotius [ edit ] In the early 17th century, Grotius — introduced the modern idea that individuals had natural rights that enabled self-preservation, employing this idea as a basis for moral consensus in the face of religious diversity and the rise of natural science.
He seeks to find a parsimonious basis for a moral beginning for society, a kind of natural law that everyone could accept. He goes so far as to say in his On the Law of War and Peace that even if we were to concede what we cannot concede without the utmost wickedness, namely that there is no God, these laws would still hold.
The idea was considered incendiary since it suggested that power can ultimately go back to the individuals if the political society that they have set up forfeits the purpose for which it was originally established, which is to preserve themselves.Social Contract Theory Essay Sample.
Social contract theory (or contractarianism) is a concept used in philosophy, political science and sociology to denote an implicit agreement within a state regarding the rights and responsibilities of the state and its citizens, or more generally a similar concord between a group and its members, or .
- Social Contract Theory and the Nature of Society, Rules and Morality Social contract theory is a philosophy about the nature of morality and the origins of society. Its adherents believe “social organization rests on a contract or compact which the people have made among themselves” (Reese, ).
Social contract theory dictates the fact that there must be agreements within a group of people who decide to live together, based on moral notions and judgments. In most cases, the social contract has a ruler or some form of ruling organization, to which people agree to obey in all matters in return for a guarantee of peace and securities.
Essay Social Contract Theory Of The Authority Systems Social Contract Theory A lot of people have differences and usually find it hard to concur with each other. The greater good is the word applied in order to illustrate a term that is both agreeable to the two parties. - Thomas Hobbes’s social contract theory is minimally related to that of cultural relativism.
Both deal with human nature and the search for peace. But while cultural relativism is in some ways a noteworthy theory, the social contract theory is the only one of the two that could logically work in .
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