Philosophical, Political and Moral Implications of Social Contract Theories

The research will show, through the analysis of social contract theories show, that this tradition, whose development from Hobbes to Kant has decisively marked the modern political thought and layed the foundations for the modern notion of political subject, political relationships and institutions which still serve us today, provides more adequate concept of a moral and political subject than for example utilitarianism on the one side or game theory on the other.

The research will examine the implications of social contract theories in individual authors and define their precise place, and will thus reveal the influence of their ideas on our political and everyday understanding and activity. Because even today we still understand our key political relations in terms of the idea of a contract between the rulers and the ruled which determines duties, responsibilities and rights of both contracting parties. Moreover, the research will enable us to better understand our political institutions and relationships, for example the concept of political representation that is basic to modern representational democracy.

The findings of our research will enable us to carry out not only the analysis of basic concepts, but also of deviations in political life, such as riots and struggles between convictional, religious or ethnic groups. Therefore it will suggest conditions under which they could be removed, as well as ways to predict and prevent them.

Our research will attempt to show, that in contrast to exclusivist ideologies, precisely the tradition of social contract theories offers us the notion of a subject that could still serve as a model for autonomous moral and political actions.

The research will also provide a systematic glossary of the field and material for further political and theoretic analyses, as well as for the translations of basic works from this area.

Project leader: Gorazd Kovačič


The Ministry of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia