Chapter

Actual Contract Theory: Attractions

Margaret Gilbert

in A Theory of Political Obligation

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780199274956
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603976 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199274959.003.0004
 Actual Contract Theory: Attractions

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The best-known theory of political obligation is actual contract theory: a political society is founded on an agreement, and the parties to the agreement — now the members of the society — are obligated accordingly. As is generally admitted, actual contract theory has significant attractions as a solution to the membership problem. For one, agreements are a canonical source of obligations. For another, an agreement may indeed suffice to found a social group in general. This chapter details eight analytic points that have been or might be judged to favour of the theory, and five ways in which it might appear to be morally attractive.

Keywords: actual contract theory; agreements; membership; obligation; political society; society; theory of political obligation

Chapter.  6647 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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