The tension between private property, freedom and order in social contract theories

Kanatlı, Mehmet
The main aim of this thesis is basically to examine how and why the tension stemmed from economic inequalities and dependence arising from private ownership of the means of production are alleviated and legitimized by social contract theoreticians from the sixteenth and seventeenth century to the twentieth century. In this respect, the study chiefly concentrates on two important points. The first one is to evaluate the modern-term social contract theories developed by Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau by linking them to the emergence process of the capitalist mode of production. The second one is to argue that the economic inequalities and dependence that appeared as a result of the emergence of the capitalist mode of production respectfully in England and France are not only still continuing in the present capitalist societies in different aspects but also still are being concealed under the mask of formal equality and formal freedom put forward by John Rawls in the twentieth century. More importantly, the study applies a methodological approach which underlines material and social conditions of a given period in which contractarian philosophers have lived in terms of analyzing the history of political ideas and political philosophy disciplines. As a result of this approach, the main hypothesis of this study suggests that positive or negative portrayal of freedom by the social contractarians will not prevent the continuing social tension stemmed from the dependence and economic inequalities caused by private ownership over means of production in any political or economic order which legalizes the private ownership of the means of production.


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Citation Formats
M. Kanatlı, “The tension between private property, freedom and order in social contract theories,” Thesis (Ph.D.) -- Graduate School of Social Sciences. Political Science and Public Administration., Middle East Technical University, 2020.