Weaknesses Of Social Contract Theory

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Social Contract theory is the idea that in the beginning people lived in the state of nature with no government and laws to regulate them. In order to overcome the issues involved in the state of nature, people entered into agreements to protect themselves and their properties. They did this by uniting, rescinding certain rights under the state of nature, and pledging themselves to an authority that will guarantee certain protections. They all agree to live together under those laws and create a mechanism that enforces the contract and the laws that come with it. Some political theorists, such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, have differing views as to what the state of nature is and what should constitute as a social contract. One…show more content…
More precisely, children are just as likely to contract with their mothers as they are with their fathers for protection. Additionally, given the lack of a modern family structure, it is unlikely that a child would know the exact identification of their father. Carole Pateman points out that under these conditions of nature, it would seem unlikely that women would agree to have children. According to Hobbes, they have the same primary drive for survival and perpetual existence that men do. The question then lies: why would women put themselves at greater risk by caring for children?
Carole Pateman prompts us that the worrying part of Hobbes’s idea of family may not be its contractual form but its absolutism. While in his political contract we give absolute rule to the sovereign, such as a monarch, in the family contract we also turn power over to an absolute ruler. This absolute ruler is the “master” of the family. While Hobbes leaves open the possibility that the mother could be the master of the household, however, mothers and women are removed from the discussion of the family once the idea of the master is introduced. Pateman also dismisses Hobbes’s acknowledgement of female sovereigns as simply a logical possibility. She goes even further: “the sovereign cannot be the mother, given the conjectural history of the origin of the family
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