How Social Agreement

The purpose of a social contract theory is to show that members of a society have reasons to support and respect the fundamental social rules, laws, institutions and/or principles of that society. To simplify, this is the public justification, that is, to “determine whether a particular regulation is legitimate and therefore fair” (D`Agostino, 1996, 23). The ultimate goal of state-oriented social contract theories is to show that a political system can meet the challenge raised by Alexander Hamilton in federalist No. 1, namely whether “men are truly capable or not of establishing good government by reflection and choice, or whether they are destined to be forever destined to depend on accident and violence on their political constitutions” (Hamilton 1788). Moreover, it appears that David Gauthier argues that any system of moral coercion must be justified against those to whom it must be applied. “What moral theory,” Gauthier asks, “can it ever serve a useful purpose, unless it can show that all the duties it recommends are truly supported in everyone`s reason?” (1986, 1). We could distinguish between negotiations and aggregation solutions. Instead of looking for a result that, as the Kalai-Smorodinsky solution pretty much does, divides the difference between the different claims, we could try to bring the different rankings together into a general social choice. Arrow`s sentence and the problems associated with the rules of social choice cast doubt on any claim that a certain type of aggregation is merely rational: all have their flaws (Gaus 2008, chap.

5). Harsanyi (1977, Chapter 1 and 2; 1982) developed a contract theory similar to Rawls`s. It creates a veil of ignorance in which people do not know their identities under the contract and assumes that rational contractors will assume that they are just as likely to be a particular person. In addition, it argues that contractors can agree on interpersonal supply comparisons and will therefore choose a contract that will aggregate the supplier in the highest average (see also Mueller 2003, cap.