Social Contracts as proposed by Locke, Hobbes, and Rousseau
Numerous psychologists have contributed immensely to the field of psychology and human behavior and a few famous such psychologists are Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Rousseau, among other who have contributed largely to the field of psychology. All the above mentioned psychologists are exemplary thinkers as each one of them has grappled to an exceptional extent in discussing the problem of origin. Considering Locke, this encompasses the origin of the psychic body of the individual; and while with Hobbes, it encompasses the origin of the social organization of the humankind.
The theory of Social Contracts as proposed by Thomas Hobbes appeared for the first time in book called Leviathan that was published in the year 1651 during the Civil War in Britain. This legal theory of Hobbes is based on the Social contract. Hobbes considered that human society comprises of people contending against each other and that fundamentally man is a vicious animal who must be forced into nonviolent synchronicity by a powerful oppressor.
According to him, before the advent of the Social Contract, human beings supposedly lived in a State of Nature. The life of human beings in the State of NATURE was one that was full of fear and self-centeredness. Such life was extremely in a state of constant chaos and fear.
Precisely, while the focus of the social-system looks at the norms that regulate the roles of individuals as the members of the communal or societal group, the cultural-system stresses upon the meaning that values that individuals have in orienting their deeds. Hobbes conceived the social and cultural systems—and their concomitant norms and values—as being undeniably discrete and logically autonomous from each other, but at the same time mutually dependent. According to this theory, any kind of social action entails decision-making by players that pays attention upon accomplishment of objective and is protected by judgments and circumstances.
The evolving path of contemporary social theory is perhaps not obvious anywhere else than in the interest it bestows upon the nature of the self, identity of the self and individual prejudice. The functional essential of integration is of special interest in connection with the law as it encompasses the general modifications, the exchanges, of the above-mentioned subsystems as precise reason to the resourceful operation of their offering to the society at large is concerned.
The Social Contract theory proposed by Locke is far different from that of Hobbes. Even though he too claims that human beings live in a state of Nature, the meaning that he attributes to this State of Nature is much different to the one that is based on the Hobbesian theory. The perception of Locke about the state of nature is not as dejected like the one proposed by Hobbes. It was fairly good and pleasant, but the only issue was that property was not safe. Locke regards the State of Nature as a ‘Golden Age.’ He goes on to claim that in his State of Nature, the “natural condition of mankind was a state of perfect and complete liberty to conduct one’s life as one best sees fit. It was free from the interference of others.”
A typical organization is a social microcosm. Any organization is a typical reflection of well-accepted social behavior and social norms further emancipated and accentuated. An organization’s value system is directly reflective of well-accepted behavior norms and value systems in the society outside. The corporate social responsibility either explicitly stated or simply followed within the organization is again reflective of the higher societal needs.
Law is primarily regarded to be the law of the strong oppressive leader; deficient of such repressive external leadership, the humankind would ultimately terminate each other. This social theory, originated on the hypothesis of a basic destructive nature as an indisputable part of human nature, has been quizzed by quite a few theorists who came after Freud and who were not willing to take such a vague view of the human core, and this is exactly in sync with the view of Rousseau.
Jean Jacques Rousseau was a philosopher of French descent and his ideas were regarded as totally new interpretation of the Social Contract theory. This can be found in his work “The Social Contract” and “Emile.” Rousseau states that social contract is not an ancient fact but is rather a theoretical structure of reason. Before the advent of the Social Contract, the life of human beings in the State of Nature was very happy and there was fairness and egalitarianism among the people.
Most importantly though, Rousseau strongly believed that the invention of private property that encompassed the pivotal flash in the very evolution of the human kind out of a modest, pure state into something that is characterized more by ravenousness, rivalry, vanity, disparity, and vice. He strongly believed that, the invention of property institutes what he calls as ‘fall from grace’ of the human kind from the State of Nature; subsequently, Rousseau feels that, human beings surrender all their rights not just to one individual but to the entire community, which he terms as a ‘general will.’ Closer inspection reveals that there is a split between emergence and authenticity of the world through feasible experience. Hobbes applies these concepts into realism, but even additionally he splits realism into what an individual can know and what can be thought of. These concepts are placed in the end. This highlights the aspects of logic and reason of Hobbes’s philosophy, giving significance not just in what can be rightly judged but more prominently what can be made out of rational thinking.
Hobbes considered that human society comprises of people contending against each other and that fundamentally man is a vicious animal who must be forced into nonviolent synchronicity by a powerful oppressor. Law is primarily regarded to be the law of the strong oppressive leader; deficient of such repressive external leadership, the humankind would ultimately terminate each other. The viewpoints of Hobbes were supported by many, specifically with the idea of an internal oppressor, the sense of propriety, which characterizes the formerly external leader, the father. The basic premise of ideology is the stepping stone for this hypothetical summary. Ideologies are different from one individual to another. Freedom of thought, expression, and easy access to broadcast thoughts on subjects as complicated as ideologies, even God, and even sexuality has led to the availability of experts and ideologues.
Obviously, Hobbes contemplates little happiness can be anticipated of our lives together. The best that can be expected for is peaceful life under an authoritarian-sounding sovereign. The most disappointing thing with regard to the accounts of Hobbes, is what he names as the “natural condition of mankind,” a state of violence, uncertainty and relentless threat. In summary, the argument of Hobbes is that the alternate to government is a circumstances no one could rationally wish for, and that any effort to make government answerable to the people must destabilize it, so frightening the circumstances of non-government that we must all wish to evade.
Locke and Hobbes feel that since human beings are frail they do not have the right to make a decision on an issue for all people, and also to keep others from coming up with their own viewpoints. Locke and Hobbes also believe that the basis why freedom of expression is regularly in trouble is because people have a tendency to be self-assured in their opinions and that reassurance is not vindicated, and that all people are impaired by restraining potentially factual ideas.
The credence that even though people may be incorrect, they should still act on their meticulous conviction and that when people are certain that they are right, they would be feeble not to act on a credence that might pessimistically affect others. In contrast to the wholesome mental acts of intellection and decision, which are in no way reliant on the body, consciousness, as well as discernment, thoughts and sentiment or zeal, owe their subsistence to the unification of the mind along with the body.
Hobbes emphasizes on the fact that in the absence of subjection to a general power of the fundamental rights and freedoms, people are essentially in combat. On the contrary, Locke and Rousseau claimed that the state of nature subsists to preserve and safeguard the accepted rights of the people. When governments fail in this particular action, citizens have the right and occasionally it becomes more of a duty to pull out their backing and even to dissent.
The ideologies of Hobbes are such that, everything and anything that the state does is fair and impartial. He believes that the entire society is a direct conception of the state, and a replication of the ruler’s will. According to Locke, the only vital role played by the state is to make sure that justice is done to its citizens.
Contrary to this, Rousseau is of the opinion that the State must, in any kind of situation, make sure that freedom and liberty of the citizens are not compromised. The theory of Social Contract as proposed by Hobbes supports total sovereignty without offering any kind of value to the individuals, while the theories proposed by Locke and Rousseau focus more on the individual rather than on the government, the ruler, or the state.
Locke, John. Second Treatise of Government. NY: Wiley , 1982.
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. Discourse on the Arts and Sciences: The Social Contract ; Emile : Selections. Collector's Library of Essential Thinkers, 2005.
Thomas Hobbes, Edited by A.P. Martinich and Brian Battiste. Leviathan Revised Edition. Ontario: Broadview Press, 2010.