Social Contract Theory

  • The social contract theory believes that originally people used to live in a state of nature without a state. At one point of time all the people living in a state of nature decided to come out of it and form a State.
  • Hobbes’s work ‘Leviathan’ deals with the structure of the society and government. It is one of the oldest works on the theory of Social Contract.
  • Hobbes was criticised for his extremely negative conception of the human nature and his social contract theory led to the origin of absolute sovereignty of the ruler. Hobbes failed to make a distinction between society, state and Government.
  • Locke has greatly contributed to the field of political philosophy through his works like theory of natural rights and individualism. He has been given the title of ‘Father of Individualism’.
  • Locke’s reasoning helped the process of the development of a theory of government, a theory of democratic government, which really got materialized in the 19th century and led to the recognition of 20th century as the age of democracy.
  • Locke’s social contract theory lacks objectivity. He was committed to support the case for the supremacy of the British parliament and to justify the philosophy of glorious revolution.
  • Rousseau adopted and analysed the theory of social contract and built a good case in favour of popular sovereignty.
  • He influenced the French revolutionaries in adopting liberty, equality and fraternity as their motto.
  • The idealist like Hegel got from his ideas the inspiration to build a theory of omnipotent state which involved a conception of state worship. Rousseau believed that the General Will led to the establishment of the civil society.

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  • Q1

    According to Rousseau what was the nature of man in the state of nature?

    Marks:1
    Answer:

    Noble Savage

    Explanation:

    According to Rousseau, man was neither quarrelsome nor selfish. He was a carefree and happy man. He was a noble savage and led a life of simplicity and idyllic happiness.

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  • Q2

    According to Rousseau state of nature was:

    Marks:1
    Answer:

    Pre-social and Pre-political.

    Explanation:

    Like Hobbes and Locke Rousseau also believed that originally man used to live in a state of nature. Like Hobbes but unlike Locke, Rousseau held that this was both a Pre-social and Pre-political stage.

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  • Q3

    Who among the following has been given the title of ‘Father of individualism’?

    Marks:1
    Answer:

    John Locke

    Explanation:

    Locke was an individualist and his ideas gave a solid foundation to the philosophy of individualism. His conception of natural rights provided a strong basis to individualism. He has been given the title of ‘Father of Individualism’.

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  • Q4

    In which book Hobbes explained his theory of social contract?

    Marks:1
    Answer:

    Leviathan

    Explanation:

    Hobbes’s major contribution has been his work ‘The Leviathan’. Through this book, Hobbes explained his theory on Social Contract. Hobbes’s work ‘Leviathan’ deals with the structure of the society and government. It is one of the oldest works on the theory of Social Contract.

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  • Q5

    Which theory of the origin of state motivated the creation of social contract theory?

    Marks:1
    Answer:

    Divine origin theory

    Explanation:

    Social contract theory originated as a reaction against the divine origin theory which described the state as divine institution. Divine origin theory is oldest theory of state which advocates that the state is a creation of God and the king rules the state by God’s will, order and authorisation.

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