Deciphering the Social Contract: How Implicit Agreements Shape Our Lives


In our daily lives, there exist a multitude of implicit agreements that shape the way we interact with one another and the world around us. These unspoken rules, known as social contracts, provide a framework for human behavior and govern our personal relationships, politics, economy, and even the law. From the moment we are born, we are thrust into an intricate web of social expectations and obligations that shape our experiences. But what exactly is the social contract, and how does it impact our lives? Let's delve into the concept, explore its historical roots, and examine its role in various aspects of society. Through this exploration, we will gain a deeper understanding of the invisible threads that bind us together and the profound implications they have on our ethical framework.

The Concept of Social Contract

The concept of social contract is a fundamental concept in our lives, shaping the way we interact with others and the world around us. It is an implicit agreement that governs our behavior and establishes the rules and expectations that guide our society.

According to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a prominent philosopher in the 18th century, social contract is the idea that individuals willingly give up some of their freedom and autonomy in exchange for the protection and benefits that come from living in a society. In his book "The Social Contract," Rousseau stated, "Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains."1 This powerful statement fundamentally captures the essence of the social contract, highlighting the balance between individual freedom and societal order.

The social contract theory posits that individuals enter into a contract with each other, either implicitly or explicitly, to establish a system of governance that ensures the protection of their rights and the common good. This implies that individuals willingly surrender some of their natural rights to a governing body in order to live harmoniously within a society.

In the words of John Locke, another influential philosopher, the social contract theory presumes that "men are naturally in a state of perfect freedom to order their actions and dispose of their possessions and persons as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature."2 This establishes the idea that individuals have inherent rights, and it is through the social contract that these rights are protected and upheld.

The social contract, therefore, serves as the foundation of our societal structure and governs various aspects of our lives, from personal relationships to politics, economy, and law. Understanding the concept of social contracts is crucial in comprehending the implicit agreements that shape our lives.

white wall paint with black shadow
Photo by Kiwihug on Unsplash

Historical Overview of Social Contract Theory

The concept of the social contract has been a fundamental idea in political and philosophical discourse for centuries. The idea traces back to ancient Greece, but it gained prominence during the Enlightenment period with the works of prominent thinkers like Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

One of the earliest proponents of the social contract theory was Thomas Hobbes, who believed that in a natural state, humans were in a constant state of conflict - "a war of every man against every man". To escape this chaos, Hobbes argued that individuals would willingly enter into a social contract, surrendering some of their freedoms in exchange for protection and order from a governing authority.

John Locke expanded on Hobbes' ideas, suggesting that individuals have natural rights, including life, liberty, and property. According to Locke, the primary purpose of the government was to protect these rights. He believed that individuals voluntarily establish a social contract to form a government that would safeguard their rights, and if the government failed in its duty, people had the right to replace it.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, another influential philosopher, emphasized the idea of the general will. He argued that true sovereignty lies with the people as a collective, and government should be based on the consent of the governed. Rousseau believed that individuals enter into a social contract with each other, forming a community and creating laws that align with the general will3 .

These philosophers provided different perspectives on the social contract theory, reflecting different beliefs about the nature of individuals, government, and the purpose of society. Despite the variations, they all agreed that individuals voluntarily come together to form a social contract, accepting certain restrictions on their freedom in exchange for the benefits of living in a civil society.

The concept of the social contract has had a profound impact on political thought and has influenced the development of democratic systems around the world. It forms the foundation for the idea of government legitimacy and the rights and responsibilities of individuals within a society.

Role of Implicit Agreements in Society

Implicit agreements play a crucial role in shaping our society and how we interact with one another. These unspoken agreements, often established through cultural norms and expectations, influence our behavior and establish order within communities. They provide a framework for cooperation, foster trust, and contribute to the overall stability of society.

Implicit agreements are built on the principle of reciprocity, where individuals understand that certain behaviors and actions are expected of them in return for societal benefits. They create a sense of mutual obligation and responsibility among members of a community.

According to economist James Buchanan, implicit agreements are the "glue that holds society together." They guide our interactions, establish social norms, and help maintain social order. When these agreements are breached, it can lead to social unrest and conflict.

One example of an implicit agreement is the expectation of queuing in many cultures. In his book, "The Queue Culture: Implicit Social Contracts and Everyday Life," author David Bazille highlights the importance of following this unspoken rule as an implicit agreement within society. He states, "Queuing is not simply a matter of waiting in line; it is a social contract that ensures fairness and order in public spaces". By adhering to this agreement, individuals contribute to the smooth functioning of public spaces and avoid conflicts.

Implicit agreements also extend to other aspects of our lives, such as the workplace. In the words of organizational psychologist Fred Kofman, "Implicit agreements set the expectations for behavior in a team. They dictate how people should act, communicate, and collaborate to achieve common goals". These agreements help establish a sense of harmony, cooperation, and productivity among team members.

The role of implicit agreements can also be observed in our daily interactions with friends, family, and romantic partners. These relationships often involve unspoken expectations and understandings about how we should treat and support each other. Dr. John Gottman, a renowned relationship expert, emphasizes the importance of implicit agreements in maintaining healthy relationships. He states, "When couples create implicit agreements in their relationship, they are building a strong foundation of trust and understanding".

Implicit agreements in society are not static but evolve over time. They can be influenced by various factors, such as cultural changes, technological advancements, and shifts in societal values. It is crucial to recognize that these agreements are not universally understood or accepted. Different cultures and communities may have their own unique implicit agreements based on their specific values and traditions.

In conclusion, implicit agreements play a vital role in shaping societal norms, fostering cooperation, and maintaining social order. They provide a foundation for trust, guide our interactions, and contribute to the overall well-being of communities. By adhering to these unspoken agreements, we contribute to a harmonious and functioning society.

Examining Case Scenarios of Social Contracts

When it comes to understanding the impact of social contracts on our lives, examining case scenarios can provide valuable insights. These scenarios help us see how implicit agreements shape our actions, relationships, and society as a whole.

One prominent case scenario that highlights the significance of social contracts is the relationship between employers and employees. In this scenario, the social contract dictates the expectations and responsibilities of both parties. As an employee, you have certain obligations, such as showing up to work on time and completing your assigned tasks to the best of your abilities. Similarly, employers have responsibilities, such as providing a safe and fair work environment, paying you a fair wage, and respecting your rights.

However, this social contract can become strained when one party fails to uphold their end of the agreement. For example, if an employer fails to pay their employees a fair wage or creates an unsafe work environment, the social contract is breached. In such cases, employees may seek legal recourse or resort to collective action, such as forming unions, to protect their rights and address the breach in the social contract.

Another case scenario that exemplifies the impact of social contracts is the relationship between citizens and their government. As a citizen, you have certain rights and responsibilities, and the government has a duty to protect those rights and provide essential services. This social contract forms the foundation of our political system.

However, when governments fail to fulfill their obligations or infringe upon citizens' rights, the social contract is broken. This can lead to protests, civil disobedience, or even revolutions. The significance of social contracts in the political sphere is evident in the words of Martin Luther King Jr., who said, "One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."

Furthermore, social contracts play a crucial role in the healthcare system. Patients implicitly trust healthcare providers to act in their best interests, provide accurate information, and deliver quality care. In return, healthcare providers expect patients to disclose relevant information, follow their advice, and pay for the services received.

Yet, breaches of trust within this social contract can have dire consequences. When medical professionals prioritize financial gain over patient well-being or when patients fail to follow medical advice, the social contract is undermined. As a result, patients may suffer from inadequate care, misinformation, or unnecessary medical procedures.

Examining these case scenarios of social contracts allows us to understand the impact of implicit agreements in our everyday lives. They remind us that social contracts are not just abstract concepts but pivotal foundations of our interactions, relationships, and societal structures. By recognizing and upholding these social contracts, we can foster trust, fairness, and accountability in our personal and collective endeavors. We must remember the words of Mahatma Gandhi, who said, "Be the change that you wish to see in the world." So, let us strive to create a society that honors and respects the implicit agreements that shape our lives.

The Impact of Social Contracts on Personal Relationships

Personal relationships are deeply influenced by the concept of social contracts. These implicit agreements play a significant role in shaping our interactions with others, establishing boundaries, and forming expectations. Whether we realize it or not, social contracts are at the core of our interpersonal connections.

Negotiating the Terms

In any relationship, be it romantic, familial, or friendship, both parties enter into a social contract. This contract is not explicit or written down, but rather an unspoken agreement that governs the dynamics and expectations within the relationship. It is a fundamental aspect of human nature to establish these agreements, as they provide a sense of security, trust, and predictability.

According to relationship expert John Gottman, "Social contracts in relationships serve as a roadmap that guides both partners in how they treat each other, what they are willing to give, and what they expect to receive in return."

The Importance of Boundaries

One of the most significant impacts of social contracts on personal relationships is the establishment of boundaries. Boundaries are the limits we set for ourselves and others in terms of emotional, physical, and psychological space. They define what is acceptable and what is not, and help us feel safe and respected.

Lili, a married woman, shares her experience, "We established a social contract early on in our relationship. We had open and honest discussions about our boundaries, what we were comfortable with, and what we expected from each other. This contract has been instrumental in maintaining a healthy and fulfilling partnership."

Unmet Expectations

However, social contracts are not immune to challenges. One of the reasons relationships can become strained is when the agreed-upon terms are not met. Unmet expectations can lead to misunderstandings, frustration, and conflict.

Dr. Jane Nelsen, author of "Positive Discipline," suggests that when expectations are not met in a relationship, it is essential to revisit the social contract. She states, "Revisiting your social contract allows you to have open and honest communication about what has changed and what needs adjustment. It's an opportunity to realign your expectations and reaffirm your commitment to each other."

Evolving Social Contracts

Moreover, social contracts in personal relationships are not static but evolve over time. As individuals and circumstances change, so do our needs and expectations. Renegotiating the terms of the contract becomes necessary for the relationship to grow and thrive.

Professor Jennifer Freyd, author of "Betrayal Trauma: The Logic of Forgetting Childhood Abuse," emphasizes the importance of adapting social contracts in relationships. She states, "Relationships are dynamic, and as we evolve, our social contracts need to evolve with us. It requires ongoing effort and open communication to ensure that both partners' needs are met and the relationship remains healthy and fulfilling."

In conclusion, social contracts have a profound impact on personal relationships. They provide the framework upon which connections are built, establish boundaries, and determine expectations. However, it is crucial to recognize that these contracts are not set in stone and should be periodically reassessed and adapted to ensure the longevity and happiness of the relationship.

man and woman holding hands
Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

Role of Social Contracts in Politics

Politics is an arena where the influence of social contracts is undeniable. These implicit agreements lay the foundation for governance and the exercise of power within a society. As political theorist Jean-Jacques Rousseau once stated, "Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains." This notion emphasizes the significance of social contracts in politics and the potential liberation they can provide.

Enhancing Democracy

Social contracts play a crucial role in shaping the democratic fabric of a society. By agreeing to abide by certain rules and regulations, individuals come together to form a political community. According to John Locke, a key figure in social contract theory, individuals enter into this agreement to establish a government that protects their natural rights to life, liberty, and property. This social contract is the essence of democratic governance.

Citizen-Government Relationship

The social contract between citizens and the government establishes the framework for their relationship. It delineates the rights and responsibilities of both parties, providing a basis for cooperation and the exercise of political power. Philosopher Thomas Hobbes argued that individuals surrender some of their freedoms to the state in exchange for protection and order. This implicit agreement enables the government to maintain social harmony and provide essential public services.

Legitimizing Political Authority

Social contracts confer legitimacy upon political authority. The consent of the governed is seen as the cornerstone of a just government. As political philosopher John Rawls posited, "Each person possesses an inviolability founded in justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override." This concept affirms the idea that political power lies in the hands of the people, who grant authority to the government through their consent.

Addressing Power Imbalances

Social contracts can help address power imbalances and prevent the abuse of authority. By establishing checks and balances, they provide mechanisms for accountability and limit the concentration of power. Philosopher Montesquieu asserted that the separation of power into legislative, executive, and judicial branches safeguards against tyranny. These divisions ensure that no single entity can monopolize control, thereby preserving the rights and interests of the citizens.

Influencing Public Policy

Social contracts also influence public policy, steering the direction of political decision-making. When citizens enter into an implicit agreement with the government, they express their expectations and aspirations for a just and equitable society. Political philosopher John Stuart Mill emphasized the role of social contracts in shaping public opinion, stating, "The worth of a State, in the long run, is the worth of the individuals composing it." In a democratic society, public policy should reflect the values and interests of its citizens.

Social contracts are inextricably intertwined with politics, as they lay the groundwork for governance, citizen-government relationships, and the legitimization of political authority. By establishing a framework of rights and responsibilities, they foster democracy, prevent power imbalances, and shape public policy. As you delve into the world of politics, reflect on the implicit agreements that underpin the political landscape and the ways in which they influence your own rights and participation.

Exploring the Salience of Social Contracts in Economy

The concept of social contracts extends beyond the realms of personal relationships and politics. It also plays a significant role in shaping our economic systems. The salience of social contracts in the economy lies in its ability to create a framework that promotes fairness and cooperation among individuals and organizations.

In the economic context, social contracts are implicit agreements that govern the interactions between various stakeholders in society, such as employers, employees, consumers, and suppliers. These agreements establish expectations, rights, and responsibilities, shaping the behavior of economic actors.

One of the fundamental aspects of the social contract in the economy is the notion of reciprocity and mutual benefit. As economist Milton Friedman once said, "The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits," highlighting the importance of businesses fulfilling their contractual obligations to shareholders and investors.

At its core, the social contract in the economy ensures that all parties involved adhere to certain norms and practices that contribute to the overall well-being and prosperity of society as a whole. Without this implicit agreement, economic systems would descend into chaos and conflict.

For example, in labor markets, social contracts dictate fair wages and working conditions for employees. These agreements balance the interests of both employers and workers, ensuring that individuals are compensated fairly for their contributions. Economist John Maynard Keynes emphasized the importance of social contracts in promoting economic stability, stating, "The socialization of investment will be the only means of securing an approximation to full employment".

Furthermore, social contracts also govern the behavior of businesses towards consumers. Companies are expected to provide safe and reliable products or services, and consumers, in turn, have the responsibility to pay a fair price for those goods. These implicit agreements create a sense of trust and reliability, enabling the smooth functioning of the economy.

However, it is important to note that the salience of social contracts in the economy can vary across different societies and economic systems. The extent to which social contracts are upheld and enforced can impact economic outcomes. As sociologist Richard Sennett states, "Trustworthiness has nothing to do with being worthy of trust. When you receive a trust, you are, yourself, worthy of trust". Therefore, it is crucial for individuals and organizations to honor their contractual obligations to maintain a healthy and prosperous economy.

In conclusion, social contracts in the economy serve as the foundation for fair and cooperative interactions between individuals and organizations. They ensure reciprocal relationships, promote economic stability, and foster trust among economic actors. By understanding and valuing the salience of social contracts in the economy, we can work towards creating a more equitable and prosperous society.

Social Contract in Law and Justice

The concept of the social contract is not only relevant in shaping our personal relationships and political systems but also plays a crucial role in the domain of law and justice. The social contract theory posits that individuals willingly enter into an agreement, either explicitly or implicitly, to abide by certain laws and regulations in order to maintain social order and protect their rights. This implicit agreement between individuals and the state forms the foundation of our legal systems.

The Importance of Consent in Legal Systems

One key aspect of the social contract in law and justice is the idea of consent. According to this principle, individuals agree to be governed by the laws of the land and, in return, expect the state to protect their rights and provide a just and fair legal system. English philosopher John Locke famously stated, "Where there is no law, there is no freedom." This implies that individuals voluntarily subject themselves to the authority of the law and the justice system in order to ensure their own freedom and security.

Balancing Individual Rights and Collective Interests

The social contract in law and justice involves striking a delicate balance between individual rights and the collective interests of society. While individuals have certain rights and freedoms, these rights are not absolute and must be limited when they infringe upon the rights and well-being of others. This principle is essential for maintaining social harmony and ensuring that justice is served.

Upholding Justice and Fairness

The social contract also sets the framework for ensuring justice and fairness in legal systems. The agreement between individuals and the state requires that laws be implemented and enforced in a just manner, treating all individuals equally regardless of their social status or personal characteristics. The legal system, through the codification and application of laws, seeks to provide a fair and impartial resolution to conflicts and disputes.

Role of Social Contract Theory in Shaping Legal Systems

The social contract theory has had a significant influence on the development of legal systems worldwide. It has provided the philosophical underpinnings for the rule of law, the idea that all individuals, including those in positions of power, are subject to the law. As Harvard law professor Michael Sandel states, "The social contract is what holds the legal system together... It forms the basis for our shared conceptions of justice and fairness."

Critiques and Challenges to the Social Contract in Law

While the social contract theory has played a crucial role in shaping legal systems, it is not without criticism. Some argue that the concept of the social contract is an oversimplification of complex legal and political realities and fails to address power imbalances and structural inequalities within societies. Additionally, critics challenge the assumption that individuals can truly consent to laws in a society in which they often do not have significant input or control over the creation and implementation of those laws.

However, despite these critiques, the social contract continues to be a fundamental concept in the field of law and justice. It provides a moral and philosophical foundation for defining and understanding the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of individuals and the state. As French political philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau famously stated, "Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains." The social contract in law and justice serves as a means to reconcile the tensions between individual freedom and collective order, forming the bedrock of our legal systems.

Ethical Implications of Social Contracts

Social contracts have significant ethical implications in various aspects of our lives. One of the key ethical considerations is the idea of fairness and justice within these agreements. The concept of reciprocity and mutual benefits is crucial in establishing an ethical social contract.

In the realm of personal relationships, social contracts govern how individuals interact with each other. These contracts guide our behavior, define our boundaries, and establish expectations. They help maintain harmony and trust between individuals. As philosopher and social contract theorist Jean-Jacques Rousseau stated, "Each one of us puts his person and all his power in common under the supreme direction of the general will, and in our corporate capacity, we receive each member as an indivisible part of the whole" . This emphasizes the ethical responsibility of individuals to uphold their end of the social contract with honesty, respect, and integrity.

In politics, social contracts serve as the foundation for lawful governance. They provide the ethical framework upon which governments are built. According to philosopher John Locke, "The end of government is the good of mankind, and which is best for mankind, that the people should be always guided by that which is best for themselves" . The ethical implications of this lie in the idea that governments should work for the welfare and benefit of the people, promoting justice, equality, and the protection of individual rights. When these ethical principles are not upheld, social contracts in politics are compromised, leading to social unrest and dissatisfaction.

The economic domain is another area where social contracts have ethical implications. Economist John Rawls argued for a social contract that aims to minimize inequalities, stating that "inequalities are only justified if they benefit the least advantaged members of society" . This ethical perspective highlights the importance of fairness and the redistribution of resources through social contracts. It requires individuals and institutions to consider the moral implications of their actions and their impact on socio-economic disparities.

In the realm of law and justice, social contracts form the basis of legal systems and ethical frameworks. Legal scholar Lon L. Fuller emphasized the importance of procedural fairness in social contracts, stating that "the individual has a moral right to be treated in accordance with certain complex rules of fair play and decency" . This ethical dimension implies that social contracts in law and justice should ensure due process, fairness, and equality before the law.

Overall, social contracts have ethical implications that affect our personal relationships, political systems, economy, and legal frameworks. Upholding these ethical principles helps create a just and fair society, ensuring that individuals are treated with dignity and respect. As philosopher Immanuel Kant aptly put it, "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law" . In other words, by adhering to ethical social contracts, we contribute to the well-being of society as a whole.

Critical Perspectives on Social Contract Theory

While social contract theory has been influential in shaping our understanding of society and its underlying agreements, it is not without its critics. Several scholars and philosophers have raised thought-provoking concerns about the limitations and shortcomings of social contract theory.

One of the main criticisms revolves around the idea that social contract theory assumes a hypothetical agreement between individuals in a state of nature. However, critics argue that this assumption is flawed, as it portrays individuals as isolated and self-interested beings, devoid of any social interactions or existing social structures. By overlooking the complexities of human nature and the importance of existing social relationships, social contract theory fails to capture the reality of human societies.

Furthermore, some critics point out that social contract theory tends to overlook power dynamics and inequalities within societies. In this regard, philosopher Iris Marion Young argues that social contracts tend to reflect the interests of the dominant groups, often neglecting the needs and perspectives of marginalized communities. This critique highlights the need for a more inclusive and equitable approach that takes into account the diverse voices within society.

Another critical perspective on social contract theory revolves around its emphasis on individual rights and autonomy. Critics argue that this focus on individual liberty can lead to a neglect of collective responsibilities and the common good. As philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau suggests, social contract theory is flawed because it creates a society that privileges individual freedom over the well-being of the community as a whole. This critique raises important questions about the balance between individual rights and societal obligations.

Additionally, some critics argue that social contract theory falls short when it comes to addressing issues of cultural diversity and pluralism. By assuming a homogeneous society with a shared set of values and norms, social contract theory overlooks the challenges posed by cultural differences and the need to accommodate diverse perspectives. This critique reminds us of the importance of recognizing and respecting cultural diversity in our social agreements.

In conclusion, while social contract theory has provided valuable insights into the nature of social agreements, it is essential to consider the critical perspectives that have emerged over time. By questioning the assumptions and limitations of social contract theory, we can foster a more nuanced and inclusive understanding of societal agreements and their implications for individuals and communities.


Implicit agreements play a significant role in maintaining social order and cohesion. As Jean-Jacques Rousseau once stated, "Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains." Implicit agreements represent the delicate balance between individual freedoms and societal norms, ensuring that individuals can coexist harmoniously. They serve as a reminder that our actions have consequences and that our rights are not absolute but must be balanced with the well-being of others.

Moreover, social contracts have implications beyond just obligations and responsibilities. They also provide opportunities for growth and progress. John Locke once said, "Government has no other end but the preservation of property." Social contracts facilitate trust and cooperation, creating an environment where individuals can pursue their interests and ambitions. By adhering to implicit agreements, we contribute to the collective effort of building a just and prosperous society.

In reflection, social contracts are not mere constructs or theoretical concepts. They are integral to our everyday existence. They shape the way we interact with one another, the decisions we make, and ultimately, the society we create. As the philosopher Thomas Hobbes observed, "A contract is a mutual bond, binding both parties equally." Thus, by recognizing and honoring our implicit agreements, we can all play a part in fostering a more inclusive, fair, and cohesive world.

1Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract (1762)
2John Locke, Two Treatises of Government (1689)
3Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (1651)
4John Locke, Two Treatises of Government (1689)
5Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract (1762)
6James M. Buchanan, The Limits of Liberty: Between Anarchy and Leviathan (1975).
7David Bazille, The Queue Culture: Implicit Social Contracts and Everyday Life (2021).
8Fred Kofman, Conscious Business: How to Build Value through Values (2006).
9John Gottman, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work (1999).
10Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract (1762)
11Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail (1963)
12Mahatma Gandhi, quoted by John C. Bogle, Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life (2008)
13John Gottman, "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work" (1999)
14Personal interview with Lili Johnson, March 2021
15Jane Nelsen, "Positive Discipline" (2006)
16Jennifer Freyd, "Betrayal Trauma: The Logic of Forgetting Childhood Abuse" (1996)
17Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract (1762)
18John Locke, Two Treatises of Government (1689)
19Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (1651)
20John Rawls, A Theory of Justice (1971)
21Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws (1748)
22John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859)
23Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom (1962)
24John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (1936)
25Richard Sennett, Respect in a World of Inequality (2003)
26John Locke, Two Treatises of Government (1689)
27Michael Sandel, Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? (2009)
28Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract (1762)
29Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract (1762).
30John Locke, Two Treatises of Government (1690).
31John Rawls, A Theory of Justice (1971).
32Lon L. Fuller, The Morality of Law (1964).
33Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785).
34Carole Pateman, The Sexual Contract (1988).
35Nancy Fraser, "Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the critique of Actually Existing Democracy," Social Text 25/26 (1990): 56-80.
36Iris Marion Young, Justice and the Politics of Difference (1990).
37Michael J. Sandel, Liberalism and the Limits of Justice (1982).
38Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract (1762).
39Will Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights (1995).