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Social Contrast Theory Essay

1844 words - 7 pages

The notion of Social Contract bears its foundations since antiquity, from the Ancient Greek and Stoic philosophy to the Roman and Canon Law (laws/regulations codified by the Ecclesiastical Authority) while it is also hinted in the Biblical Covenant (a religious covenant to the Abrahamic Religions). During the primeval period, the notion of Social Contract predicated that individuals were born into existence within a chaotic/anarchic state whereby, according to differing versions of the Social Contract theory, individuals were either happy or oppressed within it. Thus, individuals by using their natural reason ultimately sought refuge under a “unitary authority” to rule them, while consenting/surrendering to it some of their liberties with the objective of protecting their remaining rights/liberties; by doing so societies were to be formed with “political/social” order. However, despite its longevity the revolutionary breakthrough of the Social Contract theory appeared sturdily during the Age of Enlightenment (17th & 18th century); a period of escalating reason and individualism gradually replacing the traditional/faith form of beliefs; which was inaugurated by a cultural movement of intellectuals promoting scientific methods/scepticism to further enhance knowledge. Great theorists such as Hugo Grotius (1625), Thomas Hobbes (1651), Samuel Pufendorf (1673), John Locke (1689), Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1762), Immanuel Kant (1797) and others; all had differing arguments regarding the aforementioned theory of Social Contract and explored it in different dimensions. The key question all these great theorists sought to answer was to discover the reason behind the “voluntary-consent” of individuals to relinquish certain amount of their liberties (natural freedom) in order to be given political order (societies). A prominent English modern-time (Conservative) writer and Philosopher, Roger Scruton (also former editor of the Salisbury Review), is the author of multiple important works such as Art and Imagination (1974), The Meaning of Conservatism (1980), Sexual Desire (1986), The Philosopher on Dover Beach (1990), The Aesthetics of Music (1997), Beauty (2009), and Our Church (2012) while also to the thought-engaging work The West and the Rest: Globalization and the Terrorist Threat (2003) in which R. Scruton attempts to explicate the core behind Islamic Terrorism by explaining the “historical evolution of the state and the dynamic of globalization” while perceptively explaining the Social Contract and the role of Christianity on its formation in the process (ch.1).
In his work, The West and the Rest: Globalization and the Terrorist Threat (2003) R. Scruton explains in his own way the Social Contract and the impact Christianity had on its formation. In short, the author claims that the Social Contract formed in the “West” had its foundations on popular-will and that the states/societies were formed on the basis of territory instead of “creed” (as opposed to...

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