The Enlightenment Social Contract

John Locke had several other theories and ideas that have had huge impacts across the world even well after he died three we've already discussed are his blank slate or tabula rasa theory his description of inalienable rights of life liberty and property and his insistence on the separation of the powers of government it's important to keep in mind that not many of Locke's ideas are particularly original but they gained the most popularity due to the Enlightenment Locke was a prolific philosopher writing well over a dozen long works in his lifetime some of which were published after his death in the last video I briefly mentioned his two treatises of government which was published anonymously in 1689 this is one of his most famous essays and it's as long as several books and he talks about a whole bunch of different topics that have a great deal of relevance today we're going to look at just one of these day called social contract theory since Socrates and the ancient Greeks philosophers have been talking about the idea of a social contract but the Enlightenment and John Locke changed the way that we view it today first of all what is the social contract theory socrates defined it as an agreement between people of a society to abide by laws and accept punishment basically if you live in a society you agree to follow the rules but why should people join a society in the first place why wouldn't they live on their own philosopher Thomas Hobbes believed humans were evil in their natural state and that society government and laws existed because humans needed them for protection this concept was called the state of nature and Hobbes believed it was the worst possible outcome imaginable Locke however completely disagreed he proposed that humans are inherently good and because we're all born equal that the elimination of government would lead to liberty and equality where everyone's inalienable rights would be guaranteed by each other Locke realized that some people might take more than their fair share and it's because people want to guarantee the protection of their inalienable rights that they form governments or a social contract all of these members sacrifice a little Liberty to follow laws but gain protection of their rights through his explanation of the social contract lock promotes the idea of popular sovereignty popular sovereignty is the belief that government is created by the members of social contracts and that its power comes directly from them not only does the power come from the people but they should also have some say in the way their society is run Locke says that popular sovereignty is the only way to fairly govern any social contract because the ultimate power comes from the people and not God sorry Carl any society where the people can't make decisions about how to protect their own rights could form a new government but what happens then is in the next video okay time for some discussion questions number one can the Divine Right of Kings exist in the same society that recognizes popular sovereignty number two how much Liberty should people give up to the social contract in exchange for protection of their inalienable rights number three whose version of the state of nature do you agree with Hobbes or Locke why