Single Idea 18635

[catalogued under 24. Political Theory / B. Nature of a State / 2. State Legitimacy / c. Social contract]

Full Idea

Social contract theories have all been subjected to the same criticism - that there never was such a state of nature, or such a contract. Hence neither citizens nor government are bound by it. Contracts only create obligations if they are actually agreed.

Gist of Idea

Social contract theories are usually rejected because there never was such a contract


Will Kymlicka (Contemporary Political Philosophy (1st edn) [1990], 3.3)

Book Reference

Kymlicka,Will: 'Contemporary Political Philosophy (1st edn)' [OUP 1992], p.59

A Reaction

Even if they have been agreed in the past, why should subsequent generations be bound to them? Modern Germans aren't bound by their grandparents' oaths of allegiance to fascism.