Values File

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Unformatted text preview: be much the more valid concept of the two (we are now assuming that the idea of an actual social contract is discredited). To invoke an ideal contract is to appeal to what individuals, ideally, ought to agree to, or what they would agree to if they were ideally moral beings. As a way of arguing for or against particular political institutions, this seems needlessly circuitous. In brief, morally good beings would agree to morally good institutions, and whatever arguments might be deployed to show that institutions are such that morally good beings would (or would not) agree to them, could be deployed directly in defence of (or against) the institutions themselves, without reference to agreement, contract, or consent. CONTRACTARIANS CAN'T AGREE ON A CONSISTENT FORM FOR THE IDEAL STATE Michael Lessnoff, Professor of Politics, University of Glasgow, SOCIAL CONTRACT, 1986, p.95-6. What is essentially the same problem can be put in a different way. It is perhaps not hard to show that a given form of state is more advantageous for everyone than no state at all (though even this the anarchists, by definition, would deny). But there may be many such forms of state. How, then, can this mode of reasoning show which is the legitimate or best form of state, as contract theory down the centuries has sought to do? Just this difficulty accounts for the huge variety of state forms and constitutions that have been defended by different contract theorists - a variety which has been exemplified in the pages of this book, and is symptomatic of the problematic character of the contractarian idea. SOCIAL DIVERSITY MAKES CONTRACTUALISM PROBLEMATIC Michael Lessnoff, Professor of Politics, University of Glasgow, SOCIAL CONTRACT, 1986, p.105. Meanwhile, let us remind ourselves of the real reason why man's social nature raises problems for contract theory. That theory standardly rests on an assumption of a universal human nature, from which a universal contract can be derived. Yet if man is essentially social, and human societies are historically and culturally diverse then human nature will...
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This document was uploaded on 11/20/2013.

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