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Social Contract Theory

Thomas Hobbes' political philosophy of social contract theory is outlined in the hypothetical State of Nature. In his Leviathan published in 1651, he articulated on a particular theory of human nature that gives a rise to a particular view of morality and politics (Gauthier 1988). He rejects the theory of Divine Rights of Kings, indirectly refuting Filmer's claim that a king's authority is invested in him by God, enjoys an absolute authority, in which the basis of political obligation lays in an individual's obligation to obey God absolutely. Hence, this theory of Filmer, which Hobbes rejects in his social Contract theory, states that political obligation is subsumed under religious obligation (ibid). Rather, Hobbes argued that obligation and political authority are dependent upon the individual's self-interests of members of society who are taken as equals of the others, with no single individual given an absolute authority to rule over the rest, while at the same time, poses that if society is to survive, the Monarch (Sovereign), must be given absolute authority (Baier 1994). ...
He argues that man's reason does not evaluate their given ends; rather it merely finds the way to the things Desired, describing rationality as purely instrumental (ibid). It is from these premises that Hobbes is able to construct a provocative and compelling argument for why individuals would tend to be willing to submit themselves to a political authority. He explains this through his discussion of the State of Nature, in which he describes as the state of perpetual and unavoidable war and the worst possible situation in which men can find themselves (Braybrooke 1976). However, Hobbes furthered that this perpetual and unavoidable war that man encounters with other men due to their State of Nature is not hopeless because men are naturally reasonable and are able to see their way out through their recognition of the laws of nature that aids them towards escaping the State of Nature and create a civil society. By this reasonability, man is able to construct a social contract that will afford him a kind of life that is more acceptable than the one offered when one is in State of Nature. The requirement of this contract is a consensus to establish society by collectively and reciprocally renouncing the rights that individuals possessed in their State of Nature. In addition, they must give authority and power to an individual or an assembly of persons to enforce the initial contract (Gauthier, 1988). It implies that in order for men to escape from the State of Nature, it is required that they must agree to live together under common laws established for them, and create an enforcement mechanism that will enforce the social contract, alongside the laws that constitute it.
For John Locke, the State of Nature is a very different type of place; hence, his claims ...Show more

Summary

The Social Contract Theory is the view that an individual's moral and/or political obligations are dependent on the contract or agreement between them in forming society (The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy). It is rightly associated with modern moral and political theory, which Thomas Hobbes gave a full exposition of…
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