Social contract theory is the view that persons’ moral and/or political obligations are dependent upon a contract or agreement among them to form the society in which they live. It focuses on the individual and collective benefits of protecting certain human rights, such as the right to life, liberty, and property

See: social contracts, Rawl’s Theory of Justice

What prevents the community from enacting bad rules is that no one is above the rules. Since everyone is in the same situation, no community members will want to put unfair burdens on others because that would mean putting unfair burdens on themselves.


  • Social contract implies agreement. None of us agreed to it when we were born!
  • Social contract theory does not explain how to solve a moral problem when the analysis reveals conflicting rights
  • Classifying those who deliberately break moral rules and those who cannot understand a rule can be difficult