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Discussion and Essay
In two paragraphs please answer address the following question:
Which of the three social contract theorists that we discussed in this Module was the most theoretically persuasive? Why? Support your position.
As always please respond to at least two other students’ posts.
Student 1: All three theorist provide interesting and persuasive arguments behind the social contract theories. Each theorist adds elements and views to the social contract theory. Thomas Hobbes provided a theory based on the needs of human beings and built the social contract from that. The basic instincts of human beings lead to a violent and conflictive state among each other. The view that humans are animals with the instinct to survival, reduce pain and difficulty in life. From theory of developing a state or government to control and protect it’s citizens rather just the individual makes the most persuasive arguments behind the social contract.
While others detail the needs and reasons behind the social contract, the Hobbes theory points to the need of the social contract to establishment the government. The need to surrender freedoms to avoid the conflicts of war shows the need for the social contract. Protection and the sense of security is an important human need, the role the government is to provide that protection. The social contract provides a civilized life to human beings outlined best by Thomas Hobbes.
Student 2: Thomas Hobbes (1651), John Locke (1689) and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1762) are the most famous philosophers of contrarianism. However, they drew quite different conclusions from this starting-point. Hobbes advocated an authoritarian monarchy, Locke advocated a liberal monarchy, while Rousseau advocated liberal republicanism. Their work provided theoretical groundwork of constitutional monarchy, liberal democracy and republicanism.
The notion of the social contract implies that the people give up sovereignty to a government or other authority in order to receive or maintain social order through the rule of law. It can also be thought of as an agreement by the governed on a set of rules by which they are governed. Social contract theory formed a central pillar in the historically important notion that legitimate state authority must be derived from the consent of the governed. The starting point for most of these theories is a heuristic examination of the human condition absent from any structured social order, usually termed the “state of nature”. In this condition, an individual’s actions are bound only by his or her personal power, constrained by conscience, and outside resistance. From this common starting point, the various proponents of social contract theory attempt to explain, in different ways, why it is in an individual’s rational self-interest to voluntarily give up the freedom one has in the state of nature in order to obtain the benefits of political order. I think Hobbes theory is the most important because Hobbes asserts that without subjection to a common power of their rights and freedoms, men are necessarily at war. Hobbes view was that whatever the state does is just. All of society is a direct creation of the state, and a reflection of the will of the ruler.
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