Social Contract Law: Kant, Locke, And Rousseau

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Similarly, in a Rousseauian fashion, Kant suggests that the state under a civil union cannot wrong its citizens since it only passes laws that its own citizens would give to themselves, hence “consent” to (MM, 6:314). But while these passages and the overall tone of Kant’s writings suggest he is a social contract thinker, a deeper investigation demonstrates a conflict with many of the other tenants of Kant’s thought. Not only do most of the important elements that make up Kant’s political philosophy appear to be established on things other than consent (Brandt, 1982; Mullholland, 1999); but even when considered in the aggregate, Kant’s political state seems to be missing any substantive aspect of the consent that remains so dear to the social contract theory. …show more content…
Particularly in Locke’s thought we see that a conscious and real choice is made by all within a political state to consent to the social contract and that under many circumstances (depending on if the consent was implied or explicit) this consent can be removed. Even for Hobbes, the consent of the governed was an active choice made by the original participants that could potentially be removed under certain circumstances. And although it is most explicitly stated by Rousseau (Social Contract, Book 1 Chapter 5), we also find common to these three thinkers that the state requires unanimous consent of all to originally obtain legitimacy. But for Kant, so many of these crucial aspects of consent seem to be deliberately

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