Thomas Hobbes Social Contract Theory

analytical Essay
1044 words
1044 words

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines a social contract as an actual or hypothetical agreement among the members of an organized society or between a community and its ruler that defines and limits the rights and duties of each. Social contract theory is rightly associated with modern moral and political theory and is given its first full exposition and defense by Thomas Hobbes. Thomas Hobbes defends the claim that it is never rational to behave unjustly. According to Hobbes, our human nature prevents us from naturally living at peace with one another. Hobbes depicts this by describing a pre-political state of nature in which people constantly war. To move beyond this state of nature, we recognize the need to seek peace, the need to give up our hostile rights, and the need to keep our agreements. Accordingly, we enter into a social contract with one another and establish a …show more content…

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that social contract theory is rightly associated with modern moral and political theory and is given its first full exposition and defense by thomas hobbes.
  • Explains that thomas hobbes' theory of social contract appeared for the first time in leviathan in the year 1651, during the civil war in britain.
  • Analyzes how hobbes infers from his mechanistic theory of human nature that humans are necessarily and exclusively self-interested.
  • Argues that hobbes believed that social contract is a useful conceptual tool to understand the limits of political power and the scope of human rights.
  • Explains that social contract theorists misunderstand the nature of political power. a nation state is not a club.
  • Argues that the social contract idea must assume that individuals in the state of nature are clothed with rights.
  • Explains that successful minorities are routinely hated and subject to mob violence by majorities all over the world, which makes the term social contract meaningless. a contract has meaning only if all parties involved voluntarily agree to it.

Thomas Hobbes’ legal theory is based on “Social contract”. According to Hobbes, prior to social contract, “man” lived in the State of Nature. “Man’s” life in the State of Nature was one of fear and selfishness. “Man” lived in chaotic condition of constant fear. Life in the State of Nature was “solitary”, “poor”, “nasty”, “brutish”, and “short”. “Man” has a natural desire for security and order. In order to secure self-protection and self-preservation, and to avoid misery and pain, “man” entered into a contract. This idea of self-preservation and self-protection are inherent in “man’s” nature and in order to achieve this, voluntarily surrendered all their rights and freedoms by this contract to some authority who must command obedience. As a result of this contract, the mightiest authority is to protect and preserve their lives and property. This led to the emergence of the institution of the “ruler” or “monarch”, who shall be the absolute

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