Not all social contract theorists agree on this point. Philosophers have different ideas about whether the social contract is real or whether it is a fictitious way of describing the relationship between citizens and their government. Rousseau`s theories of the social contract together form a unique and coherent vision of our moral and political situation. We are inherently endowed with freedom and equality, but our nature has been corrupted by our contingent social history. However, we can overcome this corruption by invoking our free will to reconstitute ourselves politically, according to strongly democratic principles, which is good for us both individually and collectively. Patriarchal control of women is found in at least three paradigmatic contemporary contracts: the marriage contract, the prostitution contract and the surrogacy contract. Each of these contracts relates to men`s control over women or a particular man`s control over a particular woman in general. Under the terms of the marriage contract, a husband is granted the right of sexual access in most states of the United States, which prohibits the legal category of marital rape. Prostitution is an example of Pateman`s claim that modern patriarchy requires equal access for men to women, especially sexual access and access to their bodies.
And surrogacy can be understood as more of the same, albeit in terms of women`s access to reproductive abilities. All these examples show that the treaty is the means by which women are dominated and controlled. The Treaty is not the way to freedom and equality. Rather, it is a means, perhaps the most fundamental, by which patriarchy is maintained. Social contracts can be explicit, like laws, or implicit, like raising your hand in class to speak. The U.S. Constitution is often cited as an explicit example of part of the American social contract. It determines what the government can and cannot do. People who choose to live in America accept to be governed by the moral and political obligations set forth in the social contract of the Constitution. In Plato`s best-known dialogue, the Republic, the theory of social contracts is presented again, although less favorably this time. In Book II, Glaucon proposes a candidate for an answer to the question “What is justice?” by presenting a declaration of social contract for the essence of justice.
What people want most is to be able to commit injustices against others without fear of reprisal, and what they most want to avoid is being treated unfairly by others without being able to do injustice in return. Justice, he says, is the conventional result of the laws and alliances people make to avoid these extremes. Unable to commit injustices with impunity (as those who wear the Ring of Gyges would do) and fearful of becoming victims themselves, the men decide that it is in their interest to submit to the Convention of Justice. Socrates rejects this view, and most of the rest of the dialogue focuses on showing that justice is worth to itself and that the righteous man is the happy man. Thus, from Socrates` point of view, justice has a value that far exceeds the regulatory value that Glaucon attaches to it. The state of nature is therefore not the same as the state of war as it is according to Hobbes. However, this can turn into a state of war, especially a state of war over property disputes. While the state of nature is the state of freedom in which people recognize the law of nature and therefore do no harm to each other, the state of war between two or more people begins as soon as one person declares war on another by stealing from him or trying to make him his slave. Since there is no civilian power to turn to in its natural state, and since natural law allows them to defend their own lives, they can then kill those who would use violence against them. Since the natural state lacks civilian authority, it is likely to continue once the war begins. And this is one of the strongest reasons why people must abandon the state of nature by joining forces to form a civilian government.
Ownership plays a vital role in Locke`s argument in favor of civil government and the contract that establishes it. According to Locke, private property is born when a person mixes his work with nature`s raw materials. For example, if you cultivate a piece of land in nature and turn it into a piece of arable land that produces food, then you claim to own that piece of land and the food produced on it. (This led Locke to conclude that America did not really belong to the natives who lived there because, in his opinion, they did not use the basic material of nature. In other words, they did not exploit it, so they did not have a legitimate right to it, and so others could rightly appropriate it.) Given the implications of natural law, there are limits to the amount of goods one can own: one should not take more from nature than one can use, leaving others without enough for oneself. Because the nature of all mankind is given by God for their common sustenance, one cannot take more than one`s own just share. Property is the cornerstone of Locke`s argument for the social contract and civil government, as it is the protection of their property, including their property in their own bodies, that people seek when they decide to abandon the state of nature. To address the inequality inherent in certain forms of social contract theory, John Rawls proposes a hypothetical social contract based on the fundamental principles of justice.
The principles aim to provide a clear justification for helping people decide to voluntarily agree to give up certain individual freedoms in exchange for the protection of certain rights. Rawls` answer to this question is a thought experiment he calls the veil of ignorance. Charles Mills` 1997 book, The Racial Contract, is a critique not only of the history of Western thought, institutions, and political practices, but especially of the history of social contract theory. .