Social Contract

Social Contract – A comparison of Rousseau’s, Hobbes’ and Locke’s interpretations of the social contract – and how it relates to the natural state of man

. In general, the theory simply describes the relationship between the government and the people with a concern for rights and authority. The general purpose of such a relationship is to facilitate harmony and order in society. However, the concept was adopted by many other philosophers and thus had different interpretations. These interpretations stemmed directly from the way these philosophers viewed the natural state of man and the nature of man himself.

Social Contract

Social Contract

In short, the natural state is man regardless of the influence of society. In scope, this is also an expression of human nature, as it depicts man in his purest and most vulnerable form. Therefore, the state of nature would determine the type or weight of authority that the government should exercise.

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One important thing to first understand about Rousseau’s philosophy is his strong belief in the supremacy of the general will or collective needs of the people. Ergo, everything else in society must be the embodiment of such a will. In particular, laws should express the general will of the people, a belief that has greatly influenced the

Article 6: The law is an expression of the general will. Every citizen has the right to participate in its establishment personally or through his representative. It must be the same for everyone, whether it protects or punishes. All citizens, since they are equal before the law, are equally eligible for all dignities and for all public offices and professions, according to their abilities, and without distinction except that of their virtues and talents.

In the case of government, citizens must also consent to its authority and should work only to enforce the general will and the rights of man. Given this, it is not surprising that Rousseau shapes the social contract through direct democracy: a society in which the needs of everyone are equally represented by the general will, which strives for the common good of all.

Here we see a sharper perspective of the social contract and the state of nature. Hobbes claims that humans are selfish by nature. And their natural freedom would therefore only result in chaos in society. As such, the only way to maintain order is through natural laws. This is where the social contract comes into play. Hobbes defines natural law as the duty of man to government; in the form of renunciation of certain natural rights. The balance of these two, he states, will result in the protection of man’s other natural rights from his own selfish nature. (This point, that of Rudyard Kipling

Where Do I Sign? Locke’s And Hobbes’ Social Contract Theories Explained

They refer to the need for a strong and sometimes harsh monarch (absolutism). Put simply, Hobbes believes that natural rights (liberty) must be sacrificed for natural laws (obligations) in order to achieve order in society.

Hobbes’s beliefs can be compared to those of Rousseau and, as we shall see, John Locke. The latter two place more emphasis on acquiescing to authority, rather than directly sacrificing freedom for it. They also emphasize the fact that man is naturally free, and that absolutism in government can negatively affect that.

Unlike Hobbes, Locke has a more passive view of the natural state of man. He states that this does not directly result in chaos, but equality. Further differences with Hobbes are seen in regard to natural law. He argues that natural law can coexist with the natural state and supports the freedom and equality present there. Another point of comparison is the more significant role that God plays in his theory. In his E

Social Contract

Locke presents the existence of God as something we can understand and even understand – again unlike Hobbes – and says that through Him natural laws are given to man. He also sees men as free and able to guide themselves accordingly. Such empowerment of man can also be said of Rousseau’s general will. People must therefore not depend on others to preserve their rights. This, of course, does not mean that government is not necessary. The

The Art Of The Social Contract

Another famous work of Locke, says that government is man’s method of upholding such natural laws. However, like Rousseau, third-party consent remains an important factor to consider here.

All these theories undoubtedly have their merits. But we must not forget how they came about in the first place. The Enlightenment and the ideologies that came with it came about because people decided to think for themselves and question the status quo. In particular, the theory of the social contract was an attempt to justify government and what limitations it should have in relation to the moral nature of man. However, the theory itself is not about technical details. According to the policy, the role of the government in maintaining order and harmony is discussed. But more importantly, it is a call for a better understanding of the role of the people in upholding the law and at the same time the rights of the people.

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