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Toward a Naturalistic Foundation of the Social Contract

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  • C. Cordes

    ()

  • C. Schubert

    ()

Abstract

This paper delivers a step toward a naturalistic foundation of the social contract. While mainstream social contract theory is based on an original position model that is defined in an aprioristic way, we endogenize its key elements, i.e., develop them out of the individuals’ moral common sense. To this end, the biological and social basis of moral intuitions and empathy are explored. In this context, a key adaptation during evolution was the one that enabled humans to understand conspecifics as intentional agents. Since these aspects of behavior are considered to be an exaptation, they are not amenable to direct genetic explanations or to rationality-based approaches.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography in its series Papers on Economics and Evolution with number 2005-01.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:esi:evopap:2005-01

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Keywords: Social contract theory; Fairness; Intentionality; Empathy; Human evolution;

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  1. Stefan Voigt, 1999. "Breaking with the Notion of Social Contract: Constitutions as Based on Spontaneously Arisen Institutions," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 283-300, October.
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