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Ron Quiñones

on 12 March 2013

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SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORY (1588-1679) Thomas Hobbes Hobbes lived through some of the most turbulent years in English history - The civil war
He was often in personal danger during this time.
This influenced his view of how things would be like in the State of Nature.
In his greatest work, Leviathan, he argued that the only way to escape it is to build a state with a single, all-powerful ruler. Background State of Nature
to Hobbes human beings were material things, and so in constant motion – never at rest.
Constant motion for human beings = the constant search for felicity (desire satisfaction)
Hobbes thought that, in the state of nature, this constant search would lead to a war of all vs all.
“solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”. People:
-have equal maximal liberty - (sovereign over themselves)
-are selfish
-have right to take whatever they can, by any means
-can steal and kill to get stuff / survive Environment:
-no institutions (schools, hospitals, religions, governments, police, military, economic, welfare, etc.
-no limits on behaviour
- scarce resources Limited Resources if people are to preserve their lives they will either to have to find some ways of living peacefully
with each other or they will have to retain the freedom to fight others in self-defense.
That is, they will have to find some way of getting everybody to stop fighting or they will have to assert
their freedom to fight. since no one will stop fighting unless everyone else stop fighting, each person will have to agree
to give up his freedom to fight when everyone else agrees to do the same. Clearly, unless everyone
agrees to stop fighting, people will remain in the perilous state of nature and their lives will remain in danger. everyone will have to live up to the agreements he makes. Obviously, if people do not keep the agreement to stop fighting, they will continue to exist in the state. How to escape this state of nature? Make a contract/Deal But remember the Prisoners' Dilemma!

State of Nature has no one to enforce the rules, and a cheater can gain advantage! Boy gave an answer in their quiz to have the apple but the bully did not follow the agreement. Rational people, who want to live without fear of stronger people, agree to create a sovereign! Sovereign means having ultimate power. Sovereign ruler, like a king

Sovereign country People give up some of their natural rights to the sovereign. For example, the right to hurt or kill others. the bully breaks the contract the boy can seek help from the sovereign Sovereign can enforce
the contract by punishing
or even killing the bully! Now people can cooperate in society happily, knowing that any cheaters / free riders will be punished.

They can build social institutions without fear that their work will be stolen or destroyed.

e.g. markets, schools, hospitals, etc. Sovereign has the right to use force. He/she can hurt or kill people in order to enforce contracts and social rules.
In return for giving up some of our rights to the sovereign, he/she guarantees order, peace, and security. So from Hobbes' starting point, the solution to the State of Nature is to get together, and create a sovereign, giving up your individual rights to force, and letting him/her enforce the rules!

Hobbes believed the sovereign should be very powerful, because he believed people were all selfish, and we need a strong power to keep us under control. Born in 1921 in Baltimore John Bordley Rawls
American Political Philospher
Most prominent social contract philosopher of 20th century
Theory of Justice(1971) John Rawls Two Principles of Justice

1. "Each person...has an equal right to the most extensive liberty compatible with a like liberty for all."

2. Social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that:
a) they are to be of the greatest benefit to the least- advantaged members of society (the difference principle).
b) offices and positions must be open to everyone under conditions of fair equality of opportunity. Each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others. The basic liberties of citizens :
-political liberty
-freedom of speech and assembly
-freedom of personal property
-freedom from arbitrary arrest The Difference Principle Society must improve as far as possible the position of its most needy members. Such as sick
and disabled person. Everyone should have an equal opportunity to qualify for the more privileged position in society; in other words, morality prohibits discrimination. Hobbes’s theory of the State of Nature 1. All men are roughly equal in strength and skill; so attack is always one way that we can get what we want from others.

2. Reason 1 is common knowledge; so we are all scared that others will attack us to get what they want. This motivates us to attack them first, in self-defence.

3. A reputation for strength is a good way to stop people from attacking you; so we are motivated to attack others to get such a reputation. Hobbes Laws of Nature Classical Social Contract
Theory There are several morally significant differences
between living in an orderly govern society and
living in a state of nature . In an orderly govern society, people have generally agreed to adhere to moral norms in their relationship with each others and this moral norms are enforce by society. The state of Nature is the uncivilized state or wild condition of people who have not yet come together to form an orderly society. People move out in the state of nature and into a social state by agreeing to adhere to a certain moral norms and enforce this norms to a appropriate sanctions. Social Contract an intellectual device intended to explain the relationship between individuals and their government. It is a concept that human beings have made an agreement with their government, where by the government and the people have distinct roles and responsibilities. Rawls' View on Social contract

"The best way of discovering the moral rules by which we should live is by imagining that a group of rational people once joined together and agreed to choose the moral rules by which they should live " Theory of Justice "Original position" "Veil of ignorance" Two principles of justice 1-Each person has the right to equal liberties in accordance with the liberties of others 2-Inequalities (social and economic)
must respect two conditions : Why would they( people in original position) agree to
Two principles of justice They must be related to positions and conditions that are equallly accessible for everyone They must provide more benefits to the most disadvantage people of society in conformity with a principle of just savings The Difference Principle Fair equality of opportunity we are to imagine that parties to the original position want as many "primary social goods " as possible. the parties to original position know they are to live in a society in which they must cooperate with each other, although there will be conflicts among themselves they will be behind a "veil of ignorance" so that no one knows what social status, abilities, strength, intelligence, and other characteristics each one will have they will be rational insofar as each person will agree only to those principles that will resolve in a society in which he will be able to have the greatest amount of primary social goods Primary social goods -things that a person person can
use to satisfy his desire Thanks for the
answer but
no way
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