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Unformatted text preview: ut from this conclusion nothing really dramatic follows. From the fact that we generally do not have political obligations, it does not follow that we can disobey the laws of the land as we please. Most of the time there are legitimate moral reasons for compliance. If this is true, we ought to respect the law, not because we have a political obligation to do so but because there are important moral reasons for doing so. As free moral agents (autonomous persons), we have natural obligations that must be taken into consideration before we obey or disobey any law or regulation. THE SOCIAL CONTRACT ISN'T NEEDED FOR A THEORY OF RIGHTS Vicente Medina, Professor of Philosophy, Bergen Community College, SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORIES: POLITICAL OBLIGATION OR ANARCHY?, 1990, p.143. A second important question can now be taken up briefly. Is the concept of the social contract necessary for the development of a general theory of rights that accounts for natural or moral rights? The answer is clear. The idea of the social contract is superfluous to our understanding of natural or moral rights. This can be seen clearly in Locke's political philosophy. Locke, in his Second Treatise of Government, develops his theory of natural rights before even mentioning any sort of contract. Natural rights, according to Locke, are rights we possess by virtue of our nature. Thus a contract can neither confer these rights (natural or moral) nor take them away. If so, then we can develop a general theory of rights or talk meaningfully about rights without any reference to the social contract. NATURAL RIGHTS AND THE SOCIAL CONTRACT ARE LOGICALLY DISTINCT Vicente Medina, Professor of Philosophy, Bergen Community College, SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORIES: POLITICAL OBLIGATION OR ANARCHY?, 1990, p.143. The concept of the social contract is neither necessary nor sufficient to explain natural or moral rights. The fact that most advocates of contractarianism also talk about natural rights is a matter of a contingent historical situation rather than the result of any logical...
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- Fall '13