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PHIL 240 Justifying the State - Social Contract

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PHIL 240
Adam Etinson

II: Justifying the State The State Two essential features: 1) Maintains monopoly of legitimate violence 2) Protection of all citizens within its territories However: 1) What is meant by “legitimate”? Is the monopoly ever actually maintained? 2) Do all states actually protect all citizens all the time? How can the state be justified? Negative vs. Positive justifications – one can imagine that life would be worse without a state: negative justifications – consent & utilitarianism: positive justifications Wolff: the goal of justification is to show that there are universal political obligations Social Contract Theory These theorists place much weight upon personal autonomy/natural liberty. As a result, political institutions must be justified in terms of the will, choices, or decisions of those over whom they have authority. Self-assumption principle: no one has duties unless they have “assumed”, or voluntarily taken them Voluntarism: polit
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