Unformatted text preview: connection between the social contract and natural rights. These are two radically different concepts. Consequently, we can talk about one without necessarily talking about the other. The notion of natural rights is a more fundamental notion than that of a social contract. In fact, most contractarian philosophers use the metaphor of the social contract partly as a way of explaining why we ought to protect natural rights. But if natural rights are rights we possess by virtue of our nature, then we ought to respect them regardless of any contract or agreement. Such respect is necessary for the development of our moral personality as well as for our personal integrity. SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORY IS ANTHROPOLOGICALLY NAVE Bertrand Russell, A HISTORY OF WESTERN PHILOSOPHY, 1945, p.633. The theory that government was created by a contract is, of course, pre-evolutionary. Government, like measles and whooping-cough, must have grown up gradually, though, like them, it could be introduced suddenly into new regions such as the South Sea Islands. Before men had studied anthropology they had no idea of the psychological mechanisms involved in the beginnings of government, or of the fantastic reasons which lead men to adopt institutions and customs that subsequently prove useful. But as a legal fiction, to justify government, the theory of the social contract has some measure of truth. SLHS Value File THE SOCIAL CONTRACT IS A HISTORICAL ABSURDITY David Boucher and Paul Kelly, Professors of Politics, University of Wales, THE SOCIAL CONTRACT FROM HOBBES TO RAWLS, 1994, p.16. J. K. Bluntschli, for example, writing during the mid-nineteenth century, criticized Pufendorf, Locke and Kant (to a lesser extent) for failing to see that the will of the person of the state was not composed of the wills of each individual. For Bluntschli the social contract was both historically and logically absurd. There was no evidence of any such historical event, and a political contract, dealing as it did not with private but public goods, required the prior existence of the community whose common go...
View Full Document
This document was uploaded on 11/20/2013.
- Fall '13