Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Author Item Summary Meta data
Brocker I 567
Law/Contracts/Contract Theory/Buchanan: Law transforms only the uneven distribution that has arisen naturally into a legally fixed uneven distribution. That this transformation is taking place at all is due to the fact that those who are worse off in natural distribution also benefit from disarmament and the establishment of law. See Contract Theory/Buchanan, Equilibrium/Buchanan.
Problem: there is still the danger of instability, because it is better for everyone to live in a contractual state and not in a pre-contractual one - nevertheless one profits from breaches of contract! And in two ways: a) you enjoy the contractual advantages and b) you benefit from a breach of the law.
Solution/Buchanan: there must be a superordinate instance. The existence of the state owes its existence to this necessity. See Constitution/Buchanan.
Brocker I 571
Finally, Buchanan is even considering the possibility of a slavery contract (1) (see Slavery/Buchanan).
KerstingVsBuchanan/KerstingVsEconomism: This passage shows the immorality of economism. Economistic reductionism drives out the traditional normative meaning of the traditional concepts of the moral world. To speak of a slave's right to be left alive would have been condemned as intolerable cynicism. Economism is a twin brother of scientism.
Buchanan's conceptual framework for the initial state of a philosophical theory of justification is so large and far-reaching that it itself can encompass the negation of all moral interpersonal relationships, apartheid and slavery, as constitutional-contractualist states. But then the question arises as to whether such a radically naturalized scenery can be suitable for the generation of social and political principles of assessment and design that can be accepted.
If rights are the result of contractual agreement under realistic conditions - and an agreement generally only comes about if everyone hopes it will benefit - then contractual establishment of rights will only be achieved when the use of force becomes uneconomical, when blackmailing, intimidation and murder cost too much. But that only means that the law seals inequalities constituted by violence. It is characteristic of Buchanan's conception that the traditional opposition between violence and law has lost its leading function.


1. James M. Buchanan, The Limits of Liberty. Between Anarchy and Leviathan, Chicago/London 1975. Dt.: James M. Buchanan, Die Grenzen der Freiheit. Zwischen Anarchie und Leviathan, Tübingen 1984.


Wolfgang Kersting, „James M. Buchanan, Die Grenzen der Freiheit“ in: Manfred Brocker (Hg.) Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/M. 2018


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

EconBuchan I
James M. Buchanan
Politics as Public Choice Carmel, IN 2000

Brocker I
Manfred Brocker
Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert Frankfurt/M. 2018


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2019-07-22
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