Definitions for social contract

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word social contract

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  1. social contract(noun)

    an implicit agreement among people that results in the organization of society; individual surrenders liberty in return for protection

WiktionaryRate this definition:(0.00 / 0 votes)

  1. social contract(Noun)

    An implicit agreement or contract among members of a society that dictates things such as submission of individuals to rule of law and acceptable conduct.

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  1. Social contract

    In political philosophy the social contract or political contract is a theory or model, originating during the Age of Enlightenment, that typically addresses the questions of the origin of society and the legitimacy of the authority of the state over the individual. Social contract arguments typically posit that individuals have consented, either explicitly or tacitly, to surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority of the ruler or magistrate, in exchange for protection of their remaining rights. The question of the relation between natural and legal rights, therefore, is often an aspect of social contract theory. The Social Contract, created by Jean Jacques Rousseau was a book about government reforms and how it should change to suit the people instead of the government. Although the antecedents of social contract theory are found in antiquity, in Greek and Stoic philosophy and Roman and Canon Law, as well as in the Biblical idea of the covenant, the heyday of the social contract was the mid-17th to early 19th centuries, when it emerged as the leading doctrine of political legitimacy. The starting point for most social contract theories is a heuristic examination of the human condition absent from any political order that Thomas Hobbes termed the “state of nature”. In this condition, individuals' actions are bound only by their personal power and conscience. From this shared starting point, social contract theorists seek to demonstrate, in different ways, why a rational individual would voluntarily consent to give up his or her natural freedom to obtain the benefits of political order.


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