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Social contract: The social contract is a theoretical agreement in which individuals consent to form a society, surrendering some freedoms in exchange for security and order. It underlies modern political philosophy, influencing governments and their relationship with citizens. Notable proponents include Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. See also Society, Contracts, Contract theory, Th. Hobbes, J. Locke, J.-J. Rousseau, J. Rawls.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

John Locke on Social Contract - Dictionary of Arguments

Höffe I 251
Social Contract/Locke/Höffe: Among the obligations that prevail in Locke's pre-contractual natural state is the right, in the absence of public authority, to punish the violation of the relevant divine and natural commandments itself. Locke sees the only way out of leaving the natural state in the establishment of a political or civil society(1). Cf. >State/Locke
Religious Reasons/Höffe: (...) Locke's legitimation [still contains] pre-modern elements, with which the philosopher, despite his appreciation of reason and experience, methodically never sufficiently emancipated himself from his puritanical origin.
State: (...), for the establishment of a state, the concept of contract (...) takes on its most important role.
1) It explains the origin of state power, 2) determines its function and 3) defines its limits. All three tasks are combined in the raison d'être of the state, in the defence against all external and internal
Höffe I 252
dangers that threaten the basic goods of citizens, life, freedom and property. >Property/Locke.
Liberalism: With its typically liberal purpose of averting danger and the associated protection of property, Locke answers the question he poses himself: What motive induces purpose-rational persons who seek to maximize the benefits defined in terms of freedom to voluntarily renounce their natural freedom and power and submit to the fetters of a legal and state order that henceforth regulates what they do and do not do by force?
Locke's answer: To overcome the dangers of partiality and powerlessness, private justice is abolished in favour of a common impartial arbitrator who decides according to fixed rules.
Problem: (...) a twofold legal uncertainty (...): people do not always have enough power to enforce their rights and if they do have the power, they run the risk of taking too much.

1. J. Locke, Second treatise of Government, 1689/90, Chap. VII.

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. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

J. Locke
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

Höffe I
Otfried Höffe
Geschichte des politischen Denkens München 2016

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