Social Contract

Thomas Hobbs believes that morality does not depend up on..

Social Contract

Thomas Hobbs believes that morality does not depend up on the idea of God or the religious precept of reward and punishment. Furthermore he denies that human beings are essentially good and altruistic. For him morality is “the solution to a practical problem that arises for self-interested human beings”. As social animals we desire peaceful social living and for that we need rules, thus for Hobbs “moral rules” came in to being. He invites us to imagine a world devoid of moral rules and authority to enforce and ensure them, letting us do as we please. The result would be dreadful, a world of no order, culture or peace. Our similar needs and their scarcity will keep us in a constant state of competition and war. To avoid the” state of nature” Hobbs believed that a powerful authority to establish and enforce rules is required and that is a “government” accepted by the people it rules. This agreement is called the “Social Contract”. The social contract theory ensures peaceful social living. It eliminates fear of death enabling one person to care for another. “Reciprocity” is a vital condition of social contract theory. It clarifies the idea of moral values like prohibiting murder, theft, assault and fraud. It ensures people do not break the rules and when they do they are liable to be punished. It allows the idea of civil disobedience when one group enjoys the benefits and the other only bears the burden. It being an “implicit” social contract there is always a danger of people rejecting it or questioning it. The only answer is that when we agree to enjoy the benefits of social living we are bound to agree to the rules. Why torturing animals or human beings is considered immoral because it cause pain. Hobbs theory is flawed as it dictates cruelty to animals and is vague towards mentally impaired people because both cannot take part in mutual agreement of the social contract.

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