Social Contract Theory

Topics: Political philosophy, Social contract, Thomas Hobbes Pages: 3 (1026 words) Published: April 3, 2013

Modern politics governments differ from state to state based on their constitutions. The origins of some of these constitutions are somewhat unclear and my essay will attempt to shed light on what foundations they might have been built. I will give Thomas Hobbes definition of man in the ‘the state of nature’ and the transformation from this state to society, with differing views of this transformation given by John Locke and John Jacque-Rousseau. A comparison of the Social contract theories of Hobbes, Lock and Rousseau will be made to assess how they may have influenced and may continue to influence modern politics. The negative and positives, which range from individualistic to liberal and humanitarian aspects of the social contracts will be assessed and applied to the of types governments likely to have been influenced by these contracts and how they may continue to influence future politics.

Hobbes’ depiction of the state of nature is that within which man is born free, equal and rational. Faced with scarcity of resources, he will exercise his freedom by taking what he desires from another, killing him if needs be. Hobbes’ notion is that of creates perpetual fear and suspicion, creating what “war of man against every man”, resulting in man’s life being “short, brutish, solitary and poor”. Hobbes also highlights that man’s primary concern is ‘self-preservation’, and to achieve he mutually gives up his freedom, forms a community with a set of rules and appoints a head, preferably a Monarch, who punishes transgressors in a bid to ensure peace and safety. (Tuck and Silverstone, 1998 :21-35) this is Hobbes notion of a social contract and beginning of civil society ruled by an absolute power, whom man cannot rebel against for fear of returning to the ‘state of nature’ rebellion is permissible where the Monarch fails to...

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[Accessed 26 January 2013].
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