Monday, June 16, 2014

Social Contract Theory: a Primer

            So I'm writing a post on Plato's Crito and how it pertains to social contract theory.  Or rather, I'm writing a post on social contract theory in general, using Crito as a jumping off point.  When it dawned on me that, given my levels of ignorance on the subject prior to researching this, probably a lot of folks don't know exactly what social contract theory encompasses.  Before I post my real, live thoughts on the subject, I thought I'd commend a few resources to your perusal.
            The first is the entry on social contract theory over at the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.  It's basic and covers all the bases, but if you're genuinely interested in the subject, I'd recommend reading the entire thing, fairly carefully.  As I have been discovering, there is not "the" definitive social contract; there are many ideas of what a social contract is, and it's worth clarifying the options before critiquing a theory in its entirety.
            The second is a short and sweet article by an Episcopal friar who managed to have me thinking the whole time that he was anti-anarchy and pro-social contract theory, only to (pleasantly) surprise me at the end and confirm, once again, that good thinkers aren't bound by polarities.
            And then, just because it's my new favorite blog, you should read the summary of Plato's Crito over at Philosophy Bro.  Though if you don't make it over to this last site, it's really okay; I'll be quoting liberally from it in my post.  Phrases like this one — "Goddamn it, I hate it when you're right, Socrates.  Fuck.  So that's it, then, huh?" — really shouldn't go to waste.

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