Is The Idea Of A Contract A Good Way Of Explaining Why We Ought To Do Things?

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Theory of Politics - Week 1 Is the idea of a contract a good way of explaining why we ought to do things even though we do not want to? Is it a good way of explaining anything else? A working definition of a contract, for students such as myself who are largely unfamiliar with the definition of the term, is a promise that the law will enforce. The law provides remedies if a promise is breached or recognises the performance of a promise as a duty. Thus a contract arises when a duty comes into existence, and this would be because a promise is made by one of the parties involved. I will add on to this definition the usual legal binding of a contract, namely that a promise must be exchanged for adequate consideration - this being, a benefit or detriment which a party receives which reasonably and fairly induces them to make the promise or contract.

In our field, we may wish to be more concerned with the social variety of contract, and in particular what if anything binds us to do certain things, and whether there are any laws which can bind us to act as if against our will. The 'social contract' is defined as a belief that political structures and the legitimacy of the state derive from an explicit or implicit agreement by individual human beings to surrender (some or all of) their private rights, in order to secure the protection and stability of an effective social organisation or government. There have been a number of distinct versions of social contract theory which were proposed by Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Rawls. In this brief study I hope to look at some of these proponents theories, and decide whether contracts are the best way of...