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Philosophical Essay On Contractualism

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Philosophical essay on contractualism

Contractualism is a philosophical-political current that develops in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), John Locke (1632-1704) and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) are the most prominent theorists of this current. Contractualism defends the idea that both society and the State have an artificial origin. Both are the fruit of an agreement by which freedom is limited in order to guarantee collective security. Prior to the agreement, individuals lived in a so -called "state of nature". Although the three aforementioned authors share this idea adopted various visions about the conception of the "state of nature" and "social contract".

Thomas Hobbes showed great interest in the study of the animal elements that the human being possesses. The negative perception of the human being is summarized in the Latin phrase created by Plauto Homo Homini lupus whose meaning is "man is a wolf for man". According to Hobbes, man is an animal with natural passions that make him behave guided by strong individualism. However, he also affirms the rational capacity of this which ultimately makes him the most dangerous animal. This theory about the nature of evil in the human being is contrary to what Rousseau defends. While Hobbes conceives evil as an innate attribute of the individual, Rousseau defends that man is good by nature and evil is a construct. The creation of society and I get the development of interpersonal relationships are the elements that corrupt the human being.

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Both perceptions are crucial to understand the way in which their theories about the state of nature develop. On his part Locke, he builds his theory about the social contract based on the idea that every human being has three fundamental rights; The right to life, freedom and property.

For Hobbes, the state of nature is characterized by a state of war of all against all induced by the search for selfish pleasure. Human nature has two postulates; Man will seek to meet his needs and preserve life (principle of self-preservation). The insecurity generated by the search for the selfish pleasure of each individual causes human beings not to live with more certainty than that of the present. In this environment, the development of long -term activities such as industry becomes impossible. The human being using the reasoning of him concludes that under the order he can increase the chances of satisfying his needs and preserving his life. This is how the social contract arises. However, Locke conceives the conflict in the state of nature only as a circumstantial fact that has a beginning and end. This conflict emerges at the time when the decision made by an individual causes a total or partial loss by another individual of any of his three natural rights. The end of the conflict is carried out at the time when the judge or the authority recognized by both parties as a trained entity resolves the case. In this way, the social contract for Locke is based on the creation of an authority that enforces natural rights. On the other hand, Rousseau’s theory is committed to a state of nature characterized by peace, harmony and common property. The dispute arises as a consequence of private property.

The different conditions involved in the social contract give rise to different forms of state. Each of these authors considers a different form of ideal state. Hobbes is a clear defender of the absolute monarchy. Under his theory, the figure of the monarch is the only one capable of achieving a political authority that concentrates in itself the necessary power to justify any law or norm whose purpose ultimately is to ensure social peace . He presents the biblical figure of El Leviatán as the personification of the State. This is composed of the sum of the wills and forces of all individuals and in turn is stronger than these. This vision includes a total assignment of freedoms to the sovereign state. For Hobbes, any intention to divide or transfer its power would result in the destruction of it. However, Locke, defender of the parliamentary monarchy, conceives the division of power not only as something positive but necessary. The absolutist monarchy and all forms of government in which the power resided in the hands of a person presents the danger that the power can violate any of the three fundamental rights. It would be illogical to give freedom to an authority to guarantee general security if she herself attempts against this common well -being. Therefore, Locke is positioned in favor of a parliamentary monarchy in which there is a division of power. The Legislative Power will be responsible for formulating the laws while the executive’s work will ensure that these are fulfilled. This form of government is compatible with a well -organized civil society which can depose the sovereign if it does not perform its function properly. For his part Rousseau advocates a democratic government. The institutionalization of society and private property brings unequal positions. To avoid this, a sovereign collective body must be formed whose main function is the fulfillment of the general will. This ultimately seeks to maintain freedom through the notion of equality. Individuals will make a transfer of freedom to the community, composed of themselves. This theory implies that there would be no real loss of freedoms since the sovereign is the people.

In conclusion, the vision about the state of nature postulated by Rousseau remains notorious to the proposal of Hobbes and Locke. Regarding the preferences of state forms, Rousseau and Locke theories advocate a moderate state against the absolutist proposed by Hobbes.

The theoretical proposal made by German sociologist Ulrich Beck (1944-2015) focuses on the analysis of societies in the last quarter of the twentieth century. Some authors such as Jameson or Bauman talk about postmodern societies since they defend the end of the modern illustrated project promoted by the social changes that characterize this stage. Ulrich Beck on the other hand defends a process of reflective modernization in these new societies since he does not consider that the modern enlightened project has failed but that the appearance of social changes has resulted in a radicalization of the critical and reflective orientation of the same. The review of the consequences of modernization is a constant dialogue.

Beck’s main theoretical contribution is the conceptualization of the risk society. The risks present in modern societies are different from those suffered by other societies for the simple fact that they have been derived from the scientific-technological development achieved by the human being. In addition, these risks not only threaten a given society, but are global risks. This global risk of risk has contributed to a normalization of risk in our common life.

The reflexivity of this new reality is associated with a constant debate even on the infallible character of science. Until now, society had a positive vision of scientific development linked to the idea of ​​progress. This resulted in unquestionable legitimation. However, in these last societies scientific development is the cause of the appearance and permanence of the great risks that concern us. Beck highlights one of them, the climatic problem whose only cause has been the existing production model at the time. Upon discovering the negative effects of science, its ineffability begins to question. In terms of Beck, it is the passage of simple scientification to reflexive scientific.

Also, in this debate on the truth of science, the question of interest emerges. A contradiction is perceived in terms of the line of trend that scientific analysis follow. There are research publications on the same topic that conclude in contradictory results. From now on, any scientific analysis is questioned since it is suspected that its results are oriented by a series of interests that will favor either the maintenance of hierarchical positions (in ideological, social organization, etc.) or the elimination of the elimination of the same. Ultimately scientific analyzes are not considered an instrument that reflects the objective truth, but an subjective component is introduced in these.

This debate on the influence of interests in the publication of scientific analysis is creating controversy during the pandemic crisis caused by COVID-19. The first scientific information that arrived in Spain before the virus spread transmitted an idea completely contrary to the reality that triggered. Its characteristics in terms of lethality and danger resembled those of a common flu. However, we were in the same temporal space as the Chinese city of Wuham in which the reality that Spain would later experience and the rest of the world was already suffering. As for the acting in front of threats, Beck advocates global and cooperative lines to the extent that risks, such as in the case of coronavirus, affect worldwide.

In a matter of days the scientific community spread a story about the virus in which its high contagiosity and greater lethality than that of the common flu stood out. That is, two contradictory messages were spread. This change of vision could be acceptable if the real consequences of the virus were already being perceived in Wuhan. These contradictory facts that do not seem to have an explanation are those that lead to think that science is guided by interest. Why the countries in which the virus arrived later had a high contagios rate when it was not a completely unknown virus?

In addition, several reports have come to light about the health recommendations that have been contradictory such as those referring to the intake of certain medications that seemed to aggravate the disease. This propagation of the report resolution has coexisted with the so -called fake news which has resulted in a total bewilderment by the population. Scientific resolutions are no longer accepted by society without calling them. The word science no longer has a meaning of absolute truth. In this context, a situation of uncertainty is created since the information that was previously considered as an illustrator of the truth becomes information that can be found at the service of concrete interests. Society in general and individuals in particular do not seek to feel manipulated, so this eagerness for questioning lies in a lack of truthful information to stick to and therefore a situation even of complete relativity.

The risks, unlike catastrophes, are predictable. If scientific-technological development wants to continue under the line of progress, it must ensure the prevention of these risks and the mitigation of its effects. For example, technologies are an effective way in the containment of highly contagious viruses. Mechanisms that control the mobility of the virus at the time it appears are useful so that from the appearance of a contagious virus a global pandemic does not derive. In the same way, science must develop new productive methods to stop the global change on which Beck focused a good part of its theoretical production.

In conclusion, the fact that science has lost its component of total objectivity for society has resulted in a questioning of its veracity. This loss of ineffability generates a total bewilderment in the population close to what they may or may not believe and lies in a context of relativity and uncertainty.

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