Social Contract Essays

Hobbes represents a compromise between these two factions.On the one hand he rejects the theory of the Divine Right of Kings, which is most eloquently expressed by Robert Filmer in his , (although it would be left to John Locke to refute Filmer directly).However, social contract theory is rightly associated with modern moral and political theory and is given its first full exposition and defense by Thomas Hobbes.

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So, from Socrates’ point of view, justice has a value that greatly exceeds the prudential value that Glaucon assigns to it.

These views, in the , might seem at first glance inconsistent: in the former dialogue Socrates uses a social contract type of argument to show why it is just for him to remain in prison, whereas in the latter he rejects social contract as the source of justice. From Socrates' point of view, a just man is one who will, among other things, recognize his obligation to the state by obeying its laws.

In Book II, Glaucon offers a candidate for an answer to the question "what is justice?

" by representing a social contract explanation for the nature of justice.

Social contract theory, nearly as old as philosophy itself, is the view that persons' moral and/or political obligations are dependent upon a contract or agreement among them to form the society in which they live.

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Socrates uses something quite like a social contract argument to explain to Crito why he must remain in prison and accept the death penalty.

So, justice is more than the simple reciprocal obedience to law, as Glaucon suggests, but it does nonetheless include obedience to the state and the laws that sustain it.

So in the end, although Plato is perhaps the first philosopher to offer a representation of the argument at the heart of social contract theory, Socrates ultimately rejects the idea that social contract is the original source of justice.

Having been born, the city of Athens, through its laws, then required that his father care for and educate him.

Socrates' life and the way in which that life has flourished in Athens are each dependent upon the Laws.


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