What Is the Concept of Social Contract

Just as Rousseau rejected traditional theories of the social contract and later proposed his own, contemporary philosophers such as Martha Nussbaum, Thomas Pogge, and Charles Beitz introduced a qualitatively different version of the international social contract that they believe overcomes some of the problems of this treatise as articulated by Rousseau. Kant and Rawls. [19] The social contract is an essential element of democracy. In a democratic nation, government is supposed to be organized to serve the will of its citizens and, therefore, citizens are obliged to follow the laws and customs of the nation as long as the government fulfills its mandate and the legislation is considered to be in conformity with the social contract. It is perhaps not surprising that the revival of contemporary contact theory took place at the same time as the theoretical tools of games, and negotiation theory in particular, began to be applied to philosophical problems. Negotiation theory, as developed by John Nash (1950) and John Harsanyi (1977), is a rigorous approach to modeling how rational individuals would agree to share something good or supernumerary. In its most general form, the negotiation model of the agreement specifies a group of people who have individual utility functions that can be represented in relation to each other without the need to directly compare interpersonal benefits. Certain goods or merchandise intended for division will be specified, and if the persons concerned can agree on how the good in question is to be divided, they will receive this division. However, if they can`t get along, they get their disagreement result instead. Maybe that`s what they brought to the table, or it could be another specified amount. An example is a simple application game in which two people have to write how much of the donated prize pool they want.

If the two “commandments” are equal to or smaller than the pot, everyone will receive what they have written, otherwise not everyone will get anything. The level at which the subject matter of the contract is described is likely to influence the outcome of the agreement. “A striking feature from Hobbes` point of view,” Hardin points out, “is that this is a relative assessment of the overall condition. Living in a form of government versus living under anarchy” (2003, 43). Hobbes could plausibly argue that everyone would agree with the social contract because “life under government” is better from everyone`s point of view than “living under anarchy” (the basic condition). However, when a Hobbesian woman tried to divide the treaty into finer agreements on the various functions of government, she was inclined to conclude that an agreement on many functions would not be possible. If we (Lister, 2010) “zoom” in on the finer functions of government, the treaty tends to become more limited. If parties simply question whether government is better than anarchy, they will opt for almost any government (including, for example, a government that funds the arts); When they wonder whether they should have a government that funds the arts or a government that doesn`t, it`s easy to see how they can disagree on the former. Similarly, when the parties deliberate on entire moral codes, there may be a broad consensus that all moral codes as a whole are in the interest of all; When we “zoom in” on certain rights and obligations, we tend to get a very different answer.

Thus, from Mills` perspective, racism is not just an unfortunate coincidence of Western democratic and political ideals. It is not that we have a political system that has been perfectly designed and, unfortunately, applied imperfectly. One of the reasons we continue to think that the problem of race in the West is relatively superficial, that it does not go all the way, is the impact that the idealized social contract has on our imagination. We continue to believe, according to Mills, in the myths that social contract theory tells us – that everyone is equal, that everyone is treated fairly before the law, that the Founding Fathers campaigned for equality and freedom for all, etc. Thus, one of the real goals of social contract theory is to hide the true political reality from the eyes – some people are granted the rights and freedoms of full-fledged persons, and others are treated as sub-persons. The racial treaty shapes the very structure of our political systems and lays the foundation for the continued racial oppression of non-whites. So we cannot respond by simply including more non-whites in the mix of our political institutions, our representation, etc. Rather, we need to review our policy in general from the point of view of the racial treaty and start from where we are, with full knowledge of how our society has been informed by the systematic exclusion of certain people from the realm of politics and the treaty.

This “naturalized” feature of the racial contract, that is, it tells a story about who we really are and what is contained in our history, is better, according to Mills, because it promises to one day allow us to truly live up to the norms and values that are at the center of Western political traditions. .