11 January 2011

The Rational Individual and the Social Contract: Hobbes and Locke, Rousseau and Marx

(Formerly: Classic Themes in Political Philosophy: the Social Contract)

The notion that society is based on a fundamental pact or a contract among citizens is a very old idea in political philosophy. That society is founded in agreement is an idea especially powerfully developed in early modern philosophy, which has had a significant impact on existing laws and political institutions. In this course we will look at the way this idea is developed and challenged in a number of classical authors: Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Marx.

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