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Unformatted text preview: ment. But the reason we do so is not that we have any natural tie or affection for the others with whom we happen to share our world. We live in society because it is the rational thing to do. It is in our own best self-interest. And we believe in justice not because we care about other people but because we recognize that this too is rational and in our own best interest. It is easy to see the appeal of such a theory, but it is also easy to see what nonsense it is and how false a portrait of our nature. We can and do make choices and mutual agreements, of course, but even in the most democratic societies our choices and agreements are grounded in our already shared social sensibilities. Of course, there are millions of people who, by choice or coercion, move from one culture to another; learning a new language and a new life, but this hardly proves the independence of individuals from society. The extreme choice of leaving the society in which one has grown up represents one of the most traumatic and unnatural ruptures in life. We are not and never have been naturally independent, and society has always been based, first of all, on the natural affections and affiliations in which we find ourselves with others. The idea that we could exist or have ever existed as purely autonomous creatures is at best an inspiring intellectual fraud. SLHS Value File THE SOCIAL CONTRACT ASSUMES PEOPLE ARE NATURALLY SOLITARY AND SELFISH Robert Solomon, Professor of Philosophy, University of Texas, A PASSION FOR JUSTICE, 1990, p.56. But what does this idea of an original agreement or contract presuppose? To begin with, there must have been individuals who could get together to make such an agreement, and presumably they did not already live together in any kind of organized or coherent society. They lived instead, according to the now-established mythology, in the "state of nature"--a primal, purely individual existence in which they all "naturally" served only their own interests, at whatever cost...
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This document was uploaded on 11/20/2013.
- Fall '13