Define the social contract theory of Hobbes. What are the presuppositions of his the

Only use chapter 6
some notes I took from chapter 6

“We all want to live as well as possible; but in order to flourish, we need a peaceful, cooperative social order” 82.95

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“morality consists of the precepts we need to follow in order to get the benefits of social living”82.95

That—not God, inherent purposes, or altruism—is the key to understanding ethics”82.95

What would the world be like without any laws?

there would be no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving, and removing, such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short(83.96)

“The result, as Hobbes puts it, is a “constant state of war, of one with all.” And it is a war no one can win. Whoever wants to survive will try to seize what he needs and prepare to defend it from attack. Meanwhile, others will be doing the same thing. Life in the state of nature would be intolerable.” (84.97)

Four Basic Facts about human life (83.96)

There is equality of need. Each of us needs the same basic things in order to survive—food, clothing, shelter, and so on

There is scarcity. We do not live in the Garden of Eden, where milk flows in streams and every tree hangs heavy with fruit. The world is a hard, inhospitable place, where the things we need do not come in abundance. We have to work hard to produce them, and even then they may be in short supply

the essential equality of human power. Who will get the scarce goods? No one can simply take what she wants. Even though some people are smarter and tougher than others, even the strongest can be brought down when those who are less strong act together.

limited altruism. If we cannot prevail by our own strength, what hope do we have? Can we rely on the goodwill of others? We cannot. Even if people are not wholly selfish, they care most about themselves, and we cannot assume that they will step aside when their interests conflict with ours.

Without a strong, overarching authority to maintain the peace, countries guard their borders, build up their armies, and feed their own people first.(84.97)

Social Contract

“To escape the state of nature, we must find a way to work together. In a stable and cooperative society, we can produce more essential goods and distribute them in a rational way. But establishing such a society is not easy. People must agree on rules to govern their interactions. They must agree, for example, not to harm one another and not to break their promises. Hobbes calls such an agreement “the social contract.”(84.97)

“As a society, we follow certain rules, and we have ways to enforce them. Some of those ways involve the law—if you assault someone, the police may arrest you. Other ways involve “the court of public opinion”—if you get a reputation for lying, then people may turn their backs on you. All of these rules, taken together, form the social contract.”(84.97)

“only within the context of the social contract that we can become beneficent beings”84.97)

“But in society, altruism becomes possible. By releasing us from “the continual fear of violent death,” the social contract frees us to take heed of others. (84.97)

Voice of duty

“It requires him to set aside his self-centered designs in favor of rules that benefit everyone. But he is able to do this only because others have agreed to do the same thing—that is the essence of the “contract.”(85.98)

The purpose of morality and government (Social Contract Theory)85.98

The purpose of morality is to make social living possible

morality is about mutual benefit; you and I are morally bound to follow a rule only if we would be better off living in a society in which that rule were usually followed.

the purpose of government is to enforce vital moral rules

The prisoner’s dilemma 86.99

“You should also forget about trying to help Smith. This problem is strictly about calculating what is in your own best interests.”

Importance of social contract in the dilemma

“By cooperating, you will both be better off than if you act independently. Cooperating will not get either of you the best result—immediate freedom—but it will get both of you a better result than you would have gotten alone.”

Morality as the Solution to Prisoner’s-Dilemma-Type Problems. 88.101

“A bad situation, but not the worst, would be one in which everyone was selfish. You would try to protect your own interests, but you would get little help from others. (This is Hobbes’s “state of nature.”

“To escape the dilemma, we need another enforceable agreement, this time to obey the rules of mutually respectful social living. As before, cooperation will not yield the optimum outcome for each individual, but it will lead to a better result than non-cooperation. We need, in David Gauthier’s words, to “bargain our way into morality.” We can do that by establishing laws and social customs that protect the interests of everyone involved”89.102

Advantages of the social contract theory

Pgs 89-92, 102-105

The problems of civil disobedience

“By asking the disadvantaged group to obey the law and respect society’s institutions, we are asking them to accept the burdens of social living while being denied its benefits”95.107

Difficulties of the social contract theory

Pgs 95-98. 108-111.

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