Answer: That’s a deep and complicated question. I would say, I like social contract theory as part of political theory because it does capture an important aspect of morality-based politics, which is the informed consent of the governed. And certainly, in historical times when we get back to the beginnings of the modern world, the idea of the consent of the governed was just not part of traditional political theory.
Instead, you were a subject. You were expected to obey higher authority. So, I think the emphasis on that historically has been a useful corrective. At the same time, consent is only part of the story because we know people can consent to all kinds of crazy things in subjectivist fashion; and a full theory has to have not only consent, but consenting to things that are in fact, objectively good.
If we all consented to sell ourselves into slavery, those would not be valid contracts. If we all consented to engage in a battle royale where we’re just going to try to kill each other off, that would not be a valid contract. So, it has to be objectively good principles that we understand and consent to. That’s what the full theory has to consist of.
Stephen R. C. Hicks博士是羅克福德大學哲學教授，倫理與創業中心執行主任，阿特拉斯學會高級學者。
他是《推理的藝術：邏輯分析讀物》（W. W. Norton & Co.，1998）、《解釋後現代主義：從盧梭到福柯的懷疑主義和社會主義》（Scholargy，2004）、《尼采與納粹》（奧卡姆剃刀，2010）、《創業生活》（CEEF，2016）、《自由主義的利弊》（康納·考特，2020）、《藝術：現代、後現代和超越》（與邁克爾·紐伯里合著，2021）和《八大教育哲學》的作者 （2022）. 他曾在《商業道德季刊》、《形而上學評論》和《華爾街日報》上發表文章。他的著作已被翻譯成20種語言。
Instagram Takeover Questions:
Every week we solicit questions from our 100K followers on Instagram (a social media platform popular with young people. Once a month we feature Stephen Hicks' answers to select questions, transcripts below: