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Comments on the theory of the social contract?

Comments on the theory of the social contract?

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January 31, 2024

Question: Comments on the theory of the social contract?

Answer: That’s a deep and complicated question. I would say, I like social contract theory as part of political theory because it does capture an important aspect of morality-based politics, which is the informed consent of the governed. And certainly, in historical times when we get back to the beginnings of the modern world, the idea of the consent of the governed was just not part of traditional political theory.

Instead, you were a subject. You were expected to obey higher authority. So, I think the emphasis on that historically has been a useful corrective. At the same time, consent is only part of the story because we know people can consent to all kinds of crazy things in subjectivist fashion; and a full theory has to have not only consent, but consenting to things that are in fact, objectively good.

If we all consented to sell ourselves into slavery, those would not be valid contracts. If we all consented to engage in a battle royale where we’re just going to try to kill each other off, that would not be a valid contract. So, it has to be objectively good principles that we understand and consent to. That’s what the full theory has to consist of.

Stephen Hicks Ph.D.
About the author:
Stephen Hicks Ph.D.

Stephen R. C. Hicks, Ph.D., é Professor de Filosofia na Universidade de Rockford, Director Executivo do Centro de Ética e Empreendedorismo, e Senior Scholar na The Atlas Society.

Ele é autor de A Arte da Raciocínio: Leituras para Análise Lógica (W. W. Norton & Co., 1998), Explicando o pós-modernismo: Cepticismo e Socialismo de Rousseau a Foucault (Scholargy, 2004), Nietzsche e os nazis (Ockham's Razor, 2010), Vida empresarial (CEEF, 2016), Liberalismo Pro e Con (Connor Court, 2020), Arte: Moderno, Pós-moderno e Mais Além (com Michael Newberry, 2021) e Oito Filosofias da Educação (2022). Publicou em Business Ethics Quarterly, Review of Metaphysics, e The Wall Street Journal. Os seus escritos foram traduzidos em 20 línguas.

Tem sido Professor Visitante de Ética Empresarial na Universidade de Georgetown em Washington, D.C., Visiting Fellow no Centro de Filosofia e Política Social em Bowling Green, Ohio, Professor Visitante na Universidade de Kasimir the Great, Polónia, Visiting Fellow no Harris Manchester College da Universidade de Oxford, Inglaterra, e Professor Visitante na Universidade Jagiellonian, Polónia.

Os seus diplomas de licenciatura e mestrado são da Universidade de Guelph, Canadá. O seu doutoramento em Filosofia é da Universidade de Indiana, Bloomington, EUA.

Em 2010, ganhou o Prémio de Excelência em Ensino da sua universidade.

A sua série de podcasts Open College é publicada pela Possibly Correct Productions, Toronto. As suas palestras e entrevistas em vídeo estão online no CEE Video Channel, e o seu website é StephenHicks.org.  


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