Fall 2010

Command and Consent: The Social Contract Tradition

Listed in: Philosophy, as PHIL-45


Alexander George (Section 01)


The state exercises authority over its citizens: if you fail to obey its dictates, you will be punished. Does this authority not conflict with human freedom and autonomy? If it does, can political authority be morally justified? We will focus on this central question in political philosophy, with particular attention to the idea that this authority is justifiable because we have in some fashion given our consent to it. Readings will include works by Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, David Hume, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, and (most extensively) John Rawls.

Requisite: One course in Philosophy or consent of the instructor. Fall semester. Professor A. George.


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2010