Contractualism is a set of philosophical currents that try to explain the origin and importance of the construction of societies and social orders for human beings. Contractualism definition
In general, the social contract or contractualism consists of the idea of an agreement signed between the different members of a society, who unite with the aim of obtaining guaranteed advantages from the social order.
Thus, individuals abdicate certain rights or freedoms so that they can organize a government, led by a higher power or a set of authorities.
According to most theoretical currents of contractualism, the fear, insecurity and instability of human nature ensured that individuals could grant powers to specific people so that an order could be organized in their lives, ensuring stability and security , principally. Contractualism definition
In this sense, there is a collective commitment to obey and abide by the norms established by the government, as well as the latter must also be aware of its obligations to ensure the well-being of the people.
Theories of Contractualism
Theories that try to explain contractualism emerged during the 16th and 18th centuries, and the main contractualist representatives and philosophers in history were: Thomas Hobbe , John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau .
For Thomas Hobbe (1588 – 1679), the social contract originated from man’s need to control himself . According to the philosopher and political theorist, the human “state of nature” is one of domination over others, being capable of destroying their peers to achieve their personal desires. Contractualism definition
This state causes a constant feeling of insecurity and fear among people, who also want to get out of the condition of “eternal war” and reach peace.
Taking this into account, according to Hobbes, individuals sought to strengthen themselves in groups and follow social norms, which ended up restricting people’s absolute freedom and guaranteeing general security.
Hobbes was the first modern philosopher to further explain contractualism.
For John Locke (1632 – 1704), the social contract arose out of the need to create a method of partial judgment of people’s interests.
Locke was an outspoken critic of dictatorial or monarchical government regimes. He advocated a more democratic system, where “free men” had the right to elect their representatives and decisions taken should be based on common deliberation, not just the will of a sovereign. Contractualism definition
Contrary to the premises of the “state of nature” described by Hobber and Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 – 1778) defends the idea that the human being is essentially good, but society is responsible for its corruption.
Rousseau believes that all power is formed from the people and must be ruled by them . Thus, the people must choose their representatives to govern, people who must exercise power in the name of the general interests of the population.
Contractualism and Jusnaturalism
Even before the idea of contractualism, that is, the formation of the State as a mediator of the lives of individuals in society, there was the idea of a “natural right” . Contractualism definition
Jusnaturalism consists of the philosophical doctrine that before the norms defined by the social order, there was a model of the natural right of human beings. This right can be granted based on a revelation made by God to humans ( theological jusnaturalism ), from the idea of the existence of natural laws of the universe ( cosmological jusnaturalism ) or natural laws of life that human beings tend to discover only through of reason ( rationalistic jusnaturalism ).