Values File

The extreme choice of leaving the society in which

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Unformatted text preview: ere, never could have been, and never wanted to be the independent, autonomous creatures that Jean-Jacques Rousseau, expressing his own paranoia, fantasized about. We never were the selfish, nasty, brutal beings that Thomas Hobbes posited. We never were and never could be the purely rational beings that John Rawls envisions. We are not in any sense the independent and self-interested creatures that smart philosophy and bad biology make us out to be. NATURAL SOCIABILITY DISPROVES THE CONTRACT Robert Solomon, Professor of Philosophy, University of Texas, A PASSION FOR JUSTICE, 1990, p.149-50. The prominent foundation of many current theories of justice-- the so-called "social contract" and the contrasting "state of nature"--should be reconsidered within the context of this biological picture. It is all well and good to insist that this picture is merely hypothetical and in fact a thought-experiment to bring to light the rationality of certain social arrangements. But the fact is that certain deep assumptions are being made about justice and about human nature before that thought experiment even begins. One need not accept the hard determinist's view of the world and insist that what we are by nature determines what we must be in order to recognize that we are by nature certain sorts of creatures. We are, like wolves and chimps, products not just of our genes but of the conditions in which we find ourselves, which are, first and foremost, social conditions. That is where the state of nature theorists go so wrong; there is no individual in the state of nature, no war of all against all except in a few paranoid or polemical minds and in the self-justifying rhetoric of some Wall Street hostile takeover moguls. It is not just the fact of our sociability that is in question here; it is our natural constitution as social animals, in which reason may play a major role, but only because it becomes instrumental in the management of the increasing complications of our natural reciprocity. SLHS Value File THE CONTRACT FALSIFIES OUR...
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