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Social contract theory is based on hatred and

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Unformatted text preview: to whomever else they might run across in the pursuit of their needs and desires. Thus the theory presumes, first of all, a theory of human nature, according to which we are all essentially independent, autonomous creatures, capable of existing (whether well or badly) on our own. We are also selfish, or at least self-interested, creatures, more or less oblivious to the needs and interests of others and without enduring affections or attachments. SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORY DENIES OUR ESSENTIALLY SOCIAL NATURE Robert Solomon, Professor of Philosophy, University of Texas, A PASSION FOR JUSTICE, 1990, p.54-5. One such grand theory rules our thinking today. It provides the starting point for our thinking and the ground rules for our conceptions and discussions about justice. It has all the intellectual elegance that the smartest philosophers of modern times have contributed, and it has all of the appeal that our most deeply felt political opinions can provide. It is a theory that has become labyrinthine in its development but is almost childishly simple in its basic conception. It is the theory that has come to be known as the theory of "the social contract," and it encompasses not only a theory of justice but a theory of human nature and our basic emotions and motivation as well. In its most basic formulation, it is the view that justice--and the very existence of society as such--is created and justified by the fact that we all agree to its principles because they ultimately serve each of our best interests. In many versions of the theory, justice becomes a matter of reason whose purpose is to counter and control the unruly and usually selfish dictates of our natural passions. I want to argue that such theories rather reduce reason to the mere calculation of self-interest and ignore or even deny our emotional and essentially social nature. THE GOOD LIFE ISN'T PRIOR TO OR OPPOSED TO SOCIETY Robert Solomon, Professor of Philosophy, University of Texas, A PASSION FOR JUSTICE, 1990, p.152. W...
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This document was uploaded on 11/20/2013.

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