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Democratic Justice and the Social Contract$
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Albert Weale

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199684649

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199684649.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 08 December 2021

Justice, social contracts, and democracy

Justice, social contracts, and democracy

Chapter:
(p.1) Chapter 1 Justice, social contracts, and democracy
Source:
Democratic Justice and the Social Contract
Author(s):

Albert Weale

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199684649.003.0001

Within all modern democracies political controversy arises over property and justice. One important tradition of political theory addresses these questions by reference to the idea of a social contract. Social contract theory is a procedural theory of justice, and so links to democracy, which is a procedural theory of government. Among modern contract theories, there is an important distinction between contractarian and contractualist approaches. The theory offered in this work builds upon the idea that a democracy is a political system in which power is distributed equally, and models a social contract for justice. The theory can thus be designated as democratic contractarianism. Societies can be regarded as an implicit contract, involving a balance between individual and collective interests, in which bounded rational individuals have to come to an agreement. This links in turn to the long-standing ideological controversy between individualism and collectivism.

Keywords:   justice, property, social contract, deliberative democracy, democratic contractarianism, bounded rationality, individualism, collectivism

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