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Justice Depends on a Social Contract.docx

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PHIL 1100

Justice Depends on a Social Contract  The Social Contract o Beginning of departure from classical theory o Departure from divine right o People are intrinsically equal o People willingly enter into a social contract o Social contract is necessary for justice o Justice is pursuing the interests of the people o An agreement either between the people and their ruler or among the people in a community.  Hobbes (1588 – 1679) - We need a social contract to coexist peacefully and avoid a life that is “nasty, brutish and short.” o Individualistic view of human nature o Hobbes’ social contract o Protestant reformation; violent chaotic time o People form societies only because they’re terrified (by each other) o Ultimately, people are animals and unchecked, they will be forced to live in the state of nature (solitary, poor, nasty and brutish) o People will kill each other to get what they want o No cooperation; fight or die o Naturally egoists, aggressive, prone to fighting o Equal capacities; hope that people always get what they need o Assume egoism is true (If Ayn Rand is right, Hobbes is right) o In state of nature: no checks on our actions, no good/bad, constant fear o Only one option: maximize self interest via social contract o Morality is constructed, derived from self-interest o Conform to rules o Leviathan  Humans are more similar than different, more equal than unequal – physically and intellectually  People consider themselves to be wiser than all others, pleased with their own talents  Equality among people is viewed as a positive and enlightened perspective..  If we all want same things and have roughly equal abilities, the result is a free-for-all  When we are not engaged in conflict, we are worried about being engaged in conflict  Primitive style of living  Rational part of our nature enables us to understand that we need to create a political structure that will enable us to live cooperatively  Humans seek peace to remove themselves from cycle of war  Even after agreeing to social contract, people retain the right to defend themselves against any and all attacks from others o Social community is a collection of hostile and unworthy individuals o Reluctantly drawn together to promote individual interests  John Locke – the social contract protects natural rights of life, liberty, healthy and property. o The social contract protects natural rights o More optimistic view on human nature o Humans are governed by natural laws that make them free, rational and social creatures o People are entitled to inalienable rights: life, liberty, health, property o Despite law of nature, people may still invade the rights of others o Legislative / executive / federative branch o Baron de Montesquieu o Property  we have the right to our own body o The freedom to live our lives and pursue happiness freely o Not that everyone should own the same amount of property but everyone is entitled to some propert
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