Journal of Libertarian Studies

Social Contract as a Basis of Norms: A Critique

The Journal of Libertarian Studies

In this note I will argue that social contract theories aimed at establishing norms for personal and community life are inadequate. Briefly, I show that in Kant and Rawls the alleged contractual basis for the legitimacy of law and government is supplemented with the very strict requirement of self-consistency of the resulting norms. Once, however, Kant’s and Rawls’s own framework for the social con- tract thesis is abandoned, as it ultimately will have to be for various reasons, what is left is not a social contract but rationality as the basis of norms.

Volume 7, Number 1 (1983)


Machan, Tibor R. “Social Contract as a Basis of Norms: A Critique.” Journal of Libertarian Studies 7, No. 1 (1983): 141–145.

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