Social Contract Theory

The social contract theory "is the view that persons' moral and/or political obligations are dependent upon a contract or agreement among them to form the society in which they live" (Friend, 2004).   In other words a social contract is an explicit agreement of what the obligations are.   It is about achieving balance between the governing and the governed. People agree to take care of each other.   "The notion of the social contract is that individuals unite into a society by a process of mutual consent, agreeing to abide by certain rules and to accept duties to protect one another from violence, fraud, or negligence" (Britannica, 2011).   Basically, citizens give up sovereignty to government to maintain social order.  
Thomas Hobbs, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau are three philosophers that differed in their perceptions, or beliefs, in the social contract theory.   Hobbes expressed belief was that human beings sole motivation was derived from their self-interest.   His belief that is each man for himself and this is especially true if there were no established authority.   This view is still prominent today.   Tranquility was the basis of concern for Hobbs.   He focused on the harmonious interactions of humans.   He brought to light issues of concerns that are still prominent such as man’s authority being questioned by some and not being accepted by all.   Hobbs also highlighted the concern of social and political inequality.   In addition, he felt as though we live in a world in which religious teachings and their teachers may be questioned or argued against.  
John Locke was especially known for his liberal theory.   He did not believe in or support the states authority.   Locke believed in his empirical theory of knowledge; knowledge is power.   He also believed in the toleration of religions and individuality.   It was Locke who believed one need not have to conform to the standards or opinions of others.   He believed in people’s individuality and that it should be...