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The Philosophical Journey: An Interactive Approach

Social Contracts

Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and John Rawls, among other political philosophers, rely on the notion of a social contract in constructing their theories. One of the criticisms of the social contract is that it is, at best, a thought experiment. While the existence of such contracts as the basis for forming a national government is suspect, there are certainly other kinds of existing social contracts. For instance, people living in may communities agree to social contracts in the form of community covenants. These sets of rules are very close, in principle, to the sorts of contracts that political philosophers talk about. Use the Internet to explore existing social contracts. In addition to community covenants, you might look at document used by churches and even local governments.

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