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Unformatted text preview: left the country, and by remaining were deemed to have become bound by a contract to which they had not assented. But in practice it is usually difficult to leave one's country. And in the case of men born after the adoption of the Constitution their consent is even more shadowy. ORIGINAL LEGITIMACY DOESN'T ASSURE CONTINUING LEGITIMACY Michael Lessnoff, Professor of Politics, University of Glasgow, SOCIAL CONTRACT, 1986, p.89. For example, it is widely held that the federal constitution of the United States of America is legitimate today, because it was agreed by legitimate procedures involving the representatives of the people involved in 1787 (and in later years, when other states acceded). No one would dream of questioning the legitimacy of the American government's authority on the grounds that later generations of citizens have been given no opportunity to consent to it; the (indirect) consent of the first generation is acknowledged to be sufficient, as well as (many would hold) necessary for this legitimacy. It takes the penetration of a Hume to show that this kind of thinking is sloppy and untenable. SLHS Value File HYPOTHETICAL CONTRACTS LACK BINDINGFORCE Robert Solomon, Professor of Philosophy, University of Texas, A PASSION FOR JUSTICE, 1990, p.60. Of course, virtually every author on the subject insists that there was in fact no such state of nature. (Rousseau boldly announces, "Let's begin by ignoring all the facts.") But these authors clearly do believe that, prehistory aside, we are independent, autonomous beings by nature, concerned primarily with calculating our own interests, living together only grudgingly. So, too, the authors who defend the idea of a social contract virtually never suggest that there was, in fact, such a historical agreement. But, then, it is not easy to understand what sort of binding force this fiction is supposed to have on us. CONTRACT THEORIES ARE TOO CIRCULAR IN THEIR REASONING Michael Lessnoff, Professor of Politics, University of Glasgow, SOCIAL CONTRACT, 1986, p.94. The distinction between a hypothetical and an ideal social contract is an important one, and in one respect the former seems to...
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This document was uploaded on 11/20/2013.
- Fall '13