DSST Business Ethics Study Guide sm

Alternatively some have argued that we gain civil

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Alternatively, some have argued that we gain civil rights in return for accepting the obligation to respect and defend the rights of others, giving up some freedoms to do so; this alternative formulation of the duty arising from the social contract is often identified with arguments about military service. [ edit ] Violations of the contract The social contract and the civil rights it gives us are neither "natural rights" nor permanently fixed. Rather, the contract itself is the means towards an end — the benefit of all — and (according to some philosophers such as Locke or Rousseau), is only legitimate to the extent that it meets the general interest ("general will" in Rousseau). Therefore, when failings are found in the contract, we renegotiate to change the terms, using methods such as elections and legislature. Locke theorized the right of rebellion in case of the contract leading to tyranny. Since civil rights come from agreeing to the contract, those who choose to violate their contractual obligations, such as by committing crimes, abdicate their rights, and the rest of society can be expected to protect itself against the actions of such outlaws. To be a member of society is to accept responsibility for following its rules, along with the threat of punishment for violating them. In this way, society works by "mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon" (Hardin 1968). [ edit ] History [ edit ] Ancient Indian thought But there were limits on this conception of the social contract. He emphasized, for example, that ‘A person who is desirous of prosperity should worship the king as he should worship Indra himself.’ [1] [ edit ] Classical thought Many have argued that Plato's dialog Crito expresses a Greek version of social contract theory. In this dialog, Socrates refuses to escape from jail to avoid being put to death. He argues that since he has willingly remained in Athens all of his life despite opportunities to go elsewhere, he has accepted the social contract i.e. the burden of the local laws, and he cannot violate these laws even when they are against his self-interest. [ edit ] Renaissance developments Quentin Skinner has argued that several critical modern innovations in contract theory are found in the writings from French Calvinists and Huguenots, whose work in turn was invoked by writers in the Low Countries who objected to their subjection to Spain and, later still, by Catholics in England. [2] Among these, Francisco Suárez (1548–1617), from the School of Salamanca, might be considered as an early theorist of the social contract, theorizing natural law in an attempt to limit the divine right of absolute
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monarchy. All of these groups were led to articulate notions of popular sovereignty by means of a social covenant or contract: all of these arguments began with proto-“state of nature” arguments, to the effect that the basis of politics is that everyone is by nature free of subjection to any government.
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