Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Social Contract - IOT

The latest edition of In Our Time brings that good old subject The Social Contract that we have been taught in history, political science, law and philosophy - hardly anybody escapes it.

The thing that surprised me in the issue about the social contract was a connection that was made with ideas before the 18th century. That had not been done to me before. When talking of the social contract we always attend Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau - as if they totally invented it. What is special to them is that their contract is between the governed. However, what connection IOT made for me is with the previous ideas that had a contract idea. The Covenant with God in Judaism and Socrates' disposition in the Crito, where one can see him agreeing the contract with the polis, hence, feeling bound also to his own death penalty.

Hobbes, Rousseau and Locke are discussed, together with Grotius (Hugo de Groot). Most of this evolves around those good old lessons, I take it, nearly everybody has run into. It is done originally though, connecting in a much more profound fashion than I have encountered it in the past with connections to each other their context and other thinkers. Eventually, by mentioning John Rawls, the theories are taken to contemporary thought. A great podcast and a very useful addition for the student of history, political science, law and philosophy.

More In Our Time
Plate Tectonics,
The Fisher King,
The Charge of the Light Brigade,
Albert Camus,
The Nicene Creed.

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