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Modern Social Contract Theory - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Modern Social Contract Theory

Albert Weale


This book provides an exposition and evaluation of major work in social contract theory from 1950 to present. It locates the central themes of that theory in the intellectual legacy of utilitarianism, particularly the problems of defining principles of justice and of showing the grounds of moral obligation. Subsequently, it demonstrates how theorists responded in a novel way to the dilemmas articulated in utilitarianism, developing in their different approaches a constructivist method in ethics—a method that aimed to vindicate a liberal, democratic, and just political order. A distinctive feat ... More

Keywords: social contract theory, utilitarianism, justice, moral obligation, ethics, political order, rationality, utility theory, theorists

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2020 Print ISBN-13: 9780198853541
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2020 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198853541.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Albert Weale, author
Emeritus Professor of Political Theory and Public Policy, University College London