What Is the Idea of a Social Contract
Charles Mills` 1997 book The Racial Contract is a critique not only of the history of Western thought, institutions, and political practices, but especially of the history of social contract theory. Inspired by Carole Pateman`s The Sexual Contract, it seeks to show that non-whites have a relationship similar to the social contract as women. As such, it also challenges the supposed universality of the liberal individual, who is the agent of contract theory. The weakest interpretation of the contract is that the result of the contract simply indicates the correct answer to the problem of justification, which itself simply indicates that R N has. One could be a „realist” who claims that the question of whether R a N is a fact that says whether the contractual device produces R or not, and regardless of whether the correct answer to our problem of justification (i.e. what we can justify to each other) is that R a N. There is still logical room for some kind of contractualism here, but an indicative contractualism of this kind would not be a form of „constructivism”. Some have argued, for example, that Scanlon`s theory is actually based on a kind of theory of natural law where these rights exist before the contract (Mack 2007). Even if this is true, Scanlon can be a kind of social contract theorist. The variety of possible approaches within social contract theory shows the variety of different applications to which social contract theory can be applied.
The statutes consist of two main elements. The first is an initial pre-political situation, called by modern philosophers the „state of nature” and the „original position” of Rawls, the most important contemporary representative of social contract theory. In this initial situation, all individuals are equal, they are all arranged symmetrically to each other, and they all have some incentive to leave the initial situation in favor of a relative advantage obtained by entering civil society. The second element is a normative characterization of the Contracting Parties. The parties are described as (1) motivated by their own interest, insofar as they only accept the contract if they believe that they will benefit from the social interaction; (2) are concerned about the well-being of others, if only because they recognize that the benefits they expect from the social contract are subordinate to their desire to guarantee the same benefits to their colleagues; and (3) rationally or reasonably with respect to their understanding of their own interests, the interests of others, and the just or moral principles that should govern their pursuit of those interests. As already mentioned, the theory of social contracts has an empirical and normative dimension. The empirical dimension, called the „question of origin”,” provides a historical account of the origins of the state. The normative dimension of the theory of the social contract is a representation of the principles of justice that legitimize the state. In the normative dimension of social contract theory, it is useful to distinguish two more specific questions generally addressed in social contract theory: (1) What are the principles of justice that bind citizens in their relationships? and (2) Under what conditions can the state legitimately act as the supreme arbiter in relations between citizens? The theory of the social contract that answers these two questions is based on consent, which applies first to the principles of justice that prevail in society, and then to the establishment of a sovereign or state with legitimate coercive powers. The rest of this article deals with the former as the question of „justice” and the latter as the question of „legitimacy”. The principles according to which individuals in the original position, behind the veil of ignorance, would choose to regulate a society at the most elementary level (that is, even before a constitution) are quite rightly referred to by Rawls as the two principles of justice. These two principles determine the distribution of civil liberties as well as social and economic goods.
The first principle states that every person in a society should have as much fundamental freedom as possible, as long as everyone is granted the same freedoms. That is, there must be as much civil liberty as possible, as long as these assets are evenly distributed. (This would exclude, for example, a scenario in which there is a larger aggregate of civil liberties than in an alternative scenario, but where these freedoms are not evenly distributed among citizens.) The second principle states that while social and economic inequalities can be equitable, they must be equally accessible to all (i.e. no one should be denied access to a greater economic benefit in principle), and that these inequalities must be for the benefit of all. This means that economic inequality is only justified if the most disadvantaged member of society is nevertheless better off than would be the case with other arrangements. Only if a rising tide really lifts all boats up can economic inequality be allowed in a just society. The method of the original position supports this second principle, which is called the principle of difference, because if we stand behind the veil of ignorance and therefore do not know what our situation will be in society once the veil of ignorance is lifted, we will only accept principles that will be to our advantage, even if we find ourselves in the least favored position of society. In 1971, John Rawls revived interest in social contracts with the publication of A Theory of Justice.
He then extended the model developed in A Theory of Justice in The Law of Peoples to the international stage. Rawls uses a model of social contract that he calls „justice as equity” in the national context and „peoples` rights” on the international stage.  Rawls` account is purely normative and does not purport to be an accurate descriptive account of how nations actually treat each other. He describes his argument as an „ideal theory” in pursuit of a „realistic utopia.”  Despite the possible problems, there are two important motivations behind the idealization of the advisory parties. First, as we are now, you and I may be confused as to the considerations relevant to our justification problem. We have prejudices and false beliefs; To move forward in solving our justification problem, we want to see as much as possible what the outcome would be if we argued correctly on reasonable and relevant premises. By building hypothetical parties, we want to idealize them in this way. Theorists of ideal deliberation such as Jürgen Habermas (1985) and Southwood (2010) deal intensely with this reason for idealization in different ways.
At first glance, such idealization does not seem particularly problematic, since we are ultimately concerned about what is justified and therefore want the deliberations of the parties to pursue good reasons. But if we are too far removed from individuals and citizens as they are now (for example. B assumes that we postulate that they are completely rational in the sense that they know all the implications of all their beliefs and have perfect information), their considerations cannot do much to solve our problems of justification. We will not be able to identify with their solutions. Suppose, for example, that hyperrational and perfectly informed parties have no religious beliefs, so they would not deal with religious freedom or the role of religion in political decision-making. But our problem is that among tolerablely reasonable, but far from perfectly rational, citizens, pluralism of religious beliefs is inevitable. Therefore, in order to better understand the problem of justification among citizens of limited rationality, the parties must model our imperfect rationality. [The social contract] can be reduced to the following terms: Each of us puts his person and all his power together under the highest direction of the general will; and in a body we receive each limb as an indivisible part of the whole.  The idea of the social contract goes back at least to Epicurus (Thrasher 2013). .