This great 8-Bit Philosophy video discusses Thomas Hobbes’ and Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s theory of the Social Contract. The social contract is basically an implicit agreement among members of a social group to abide by certain rules and/or be ruled by a governing body. This explains the purpose of government as well as an argument for how it should operate. Modern philosophers, such as Rawls, also argue for new versions of this theory that explain ethics more broadly.
- Where did Hobbes and Rousseau differ about the original state of nature? Who do you think was right, or closer to the truth?
- What is the social contract? Why would anyone agree to be ruled by someone else or limit themselves by rules?
- What would life be like now if we suddenly did not have a social contract?
- Could all of morality be an implicit social contract?
Keywords: ethics, moral theory, contractarianism, meta-ethics, government, politics, laws