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Only after monarchy in ancient Greek meaning literally the rule of the one came kingship. For Aristotle, who saw the polis as an outcome of some sort of natural development 42 , the big question is how to prevent the corruption of the polis by political action. The same is true with Plato. Along with economic, sociologic and moral explanations, that is, explanations that concern the behaviour of human beings, is a cyclical understanding of time and history, which unquestionably affected classical political thought.

These cosmological, theological and natural explanations formed the background for all classical political philosophy. For any political philosopher of Greek and Rome it seems almost impossible to escape from this cosmological cycle. Political art may have included the idea of hastening or slowing the cosmo-political metamorphoses but there is no evidence of the idea of totally leaping out of the natural and cosmological cycle, which is typical of modern revolutions as Koselleck has pointed out These explanations concern the problem of time, or more precisely, the ending of times.

Hence the third set of explanations to regime change derives from the contemplations on linear versus cyclical time. One example of this is the emergence of new scientific thought. After the astronomical and scientific revolution, the scientific innovation of lasting linear movement and following from this, lasting linear time replaced the ancient cosmological and political thought. While the cyclical idea of history and time fitted well with aristotelic-ptolemaic world system, the introduction of linear movement and time caused serious troubles for older cosmological understanding.

The Sovereign State: Hobbes, Leviathan (Part 1) | eqahamij.ml

However, as another example, it is Christianity, not scientific revolution that originally broke the natural cycle of time typical to antiquity. Christian theology speaks of the return of the Christ, but at the same time it is very clearly manifested that everything will be different from the first time.

The first time that Christ was on the earth was a preparatory visit. The second coming would be redeeming. Waiting for the second coming of Christ and the coming of the City of God, as church father Augustine described it, is definitely a break from the old conception of time that was typical for antiquity. If the Christian idea of time is not straightforwardly linear, it is, however, more or less a spiral.

Time may develop in circles, but these circles are not closed.


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According to the Christian view, time as we know it will end and a totally new kind of time, or eternity, will begin. It is the Christian imagination that brings with it a new idea of the end of time 44 , which has both negative and positive consequences. Eschatology, escaping from this particular time and space, is definitely a Christian idea that has caused, directly or indirectly, so many revolts and rebellions throughout Christian history Machiavelli, although he was a contemporary of the astronomical and scientific revolution, does not place those new ideas in his political philosophy.

Still, even though Machiavelli gathers his inspiration from the classics of antiquity, such as Polybius, his political imagination and language is mixed already with the Christian conception of time. As Paul-Erik Korvela shows Machiavelli understood that religious sects have the same kind of life spans as political regimes Earlier sects have vanished because new ones who, reasonably enough, try to erase the memory of the old religion. Based on this kind of understanding Machiavelli calculated, as did many of his contemporaries that the Christian religion should come to an end about years after his time.

Anticipation of the fall of the Christian religion was based on astrological calculations and a sort of tradition that awaited the rise of a new religion and political order. Cyclical time and the cycle of religious as well as political order, however, are not causal reasons for the present political situation. Machiavelli sees that political actors also have their word to say in the course of things. Machiavelli views that religions and republics should be returned to their origins.

This idea includes the regaining of the original powers of the republic. Hence, this kind of revolution, although the very term was still lacking, is a very modern one, yet at the same time it is very old. Furthermore, Machiavelli already has an idea of a revolutionary subject. The prince who is extraordinary has the capability to bring to order, ordinary life, in the republic. Innovator, a substitute for revolutionary, is the one who prevents the negative innovations of the citizens and classes.

This kind of action can resist fortuna , if anything. Paradoxically, to retain the stability of the republic or religion, the republic and religions must maintain the capability to reform themselves. According to Machiavelli, constant change, following historical cycles, is the only way to keep the power Although classical and early modern philosophers did see that political change always calls for real action of individual and political sects, they, however, believed that political change was part of some larger cosmological changes beyond the human powers.

It is against this tradition that Hobbes builds his argument concerning the generation and corruption of the Commonwealth. Political power can also be acquired by conquest, but the political power by institution was more important for Hobbes. The act of a social contract is the form of the political life. In social contract the sovereign state steps out from the chaos of the a-political, and a-historical multitude. In De Corpore Politico Hobbes is quite clear.

The special form of the contract, the covenant, forms the body politic. The first mode of legitimate government is in the historical and logical order the democracy:. It is an outcome of vote where the major part gives its voice and authority to a democratic meeting.

There is no historical telos or necessity involved in this act. In other words the democratic meeting could take place or not, and in fact, this is the whole dilemma of political order in general. Hobbes does not give any hint of this kind of possibility. Democracy is first in order historically and logically since otherwise it would be impossible for Hobbes to argue as he does in his theory of social contract.

Whether Hobbes is right or wrong in his theory, is not important. Rather it is the logic that he sets against the classical understanding concerning the erection, development and changing of the state-forms that is interesting. Organized as a body politic, as a democratic meeting, a people has the possibility to govern itself as a democracy or to continue to more sophisticated, secure and effective ways of governing. In a way, democracy is at a constant danger of falling back to the state of nature. Hence, people have to develop their political governance further.

Building up an aristocracy or a monarchy is realised by another contract that the people make with sovereign power, such as monarch. These kinds of contracts are understood here as development and hence part of peoples free deliberation. Moving from one state-form to another is not dependent on a cosmological or natural cycle, or on the corruption of certain persons. It is, primarily, because men are willing to develop their commonwealths. For this reason it is possible that monarchy or aristocracy may return to a previous form, democracy.

Here sovereign power would not be in the hands of the monarch anymore, but instead a democratic concert would have to gather together again. Yet it is important that people cannot demand the power back from the sovereign and the people are not a distinct entity of the sovereign power even in the monarchy. In this way Hobbes denies the possibility that people could by rebellion take the power back legally.

Quite contrary, it is far more possible that the whole social contract, that is sovereignty, vanishes than that it returns to the hands of democratic concert ever again. Here rebellion is the main subject of the chapter and it is linked to the very destruction of commonwealth. It seems that Hobbes simply wants to explain how rebellion is always wrong in the commonwealth and following from this, he ends up to condemn rebellious action. In fact, in the commonwealth human nature as itself is not enough to produce anything: political activity and even political philosophy is needed to bring out the effect — wanted or unwanted — from human nature.

That the discontented have mutual intelligence; II. That they have a sufficient number; III. That they have arms; IV. What happens when these conditions are fulfilled is the formation of a sort of body politic inside the body politic. Only an organized group of people can attack the sovereign power inside the commonwealth. Other than these things, good orators are needed who spread the word of rebellion and turn people against the sovereign. Hobbes claims that human nature starts to work in favour of bad intentions if there is no political education and organization opposing those agitating forces.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712—1778)

Hobbes, however, totally condemns this kind of action. Comparing rebellion and rebellious plans to Ovidius story of Medea from Metamorphoses Hobbes claims that rebellions never succeed in restoring the original powers of Commonwealth or of creating a new one:. In another words, rebellions will never turn out to be revolutions. He is definitely against any revolutionary action, since the end will be a civil war, anarchy and the state of nature — not restored or reformed powers of commonwealth.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712—1778)

He explains the commonwealth as a person, which has a birth, life and an end. It is possible, as he writes in Leviathan , that a commonwealth might exist for a very long period of time. However, it is certain that when a commonwealth dissolves, it cannot be re-erected. The Leviathan is a mortal God, not immortal. This is why rebellion is the same as suicide or a fatal disease to a human being.

Rebellion, or revolutionary action, does not have any good outcomes and, hence, in The Elements of Law Hobbes does not write about revolution in the modern sense of the concept Rebellion is an action, that might dissolve the commonwealth, but it will certainly not bring it to another level or develop it. It is clear that Hobbes did not support the cosmological ideas of Plato, Aristotle or Polybius. Unlike them, Hobbes argues that the life span of the State is linear. He never refers to the possibility of metamorphoses from one form to another as a historical pattern.

Instead human beings have to be very careful with what they do in commonwealths since it is possible that whole sovereignty, which brings all the wealth and development of the earth, can totally vanish. But this vision differs radically from former cyclical explanations that always expect some sort of re-cycle. For Hobbes the Commonwealth is a singular phenomenon that may last almost indefinitely, but it will not go through several cycles and transformations of the state-forms.

As Hobbes explains in Leviathan, what stands before and after the life of the Commonwealth is a sort of secular eternity, a time when people, if there happen to be any, will not have a proper understanding of time Still, he does not wait for the second coming of Christ or the ending of time but instead demands that we should take hold of what we have in this corporeality, this time, this commonwealth.

These are the realistic conditions of good politics for Hobbes in The Elements of Law. Revolution, in the classical and modern meanings, is definitely missing.

Thomas Hobbes and the State of Nature

Thus, the political message to his contemporaries before the English Civil Wars was that mutiny and rebellion would not bring any good results. The only change that Hobbes could imagine was the dissolution of the state, which was definitely a bad outcome in his eyes. Many of his contemporaries had totally different opinions. For Hobbes this meant dangerous times and in late he concluded that is was best to become an immigrant in Paris. Hobbes stayed in France the entire period of the wars, There he wrote his two major political treatises De Cive and Leviathan that were published immediately, unlike The Elements of Law.

De Cive does not speak about revolution, although it repeats most of the ideas that The Elements of Law consists of. Leviathan offers a slightly different view of revolution compared to De Corpore Politico. Hobbes writes:. Obviously Hobbes is talking about moment of birth of his masterpiece. There are those who have dissolved the old government and those who are about to erect the new one. This idea of revolution is reminiscent of the very modern idea of revolution. Revolution is a breaking point, a sort of kairos that separates the old era from a new one.

At the end of the Civil Wars, Hobbes might have seen the new day rising and thought that the times had truly changed for good. Although throughout his book, he speaks about rebellion similarly to the way he expressed his thoughts in The Elements of Law and De Cive , revolution is used here in a way that the modern reader can recognize as a self-evident.

But on the other hand, something was surely different after the period of Civil Wars and the victory of Cromwell. The old regime seemed surely as history and it was a time of building up a new one. Perhaps Hobbes thought that his Leviathan would become a cornerstone of the new Commonwealth of England, even though he later clearly denied that he wrote the Leviathan in favor of Cromwellian regime While the De Cive was a true success, especially on the continent, Leviathan was received with rage.

The outcome of this project was his philosophical summa , De Corpore. He knew it quite well from the astronomical discourses and used it naturally in his own texts concerning physics and astronomy. In this sense Hobbes returned to the origins of the concept of revolution, which he had used only metaphorically in his earlier political texts.

It must have been an important question, since Hobbes devotes pages to describing the mathematical laws of circular movement that is revolution It was something that proved in the end that earth was not the centre of the universe but instead it was a planet that circled the sun. Proving circular motion in a theoretical way was a major task since it opposed the understanding of movement that Aristotle had given which had been the prominent way of describing physics among scholastics.

This is not to say that Aristotle did not know of circular motion, but he understood it from the basis of a different metaphysics What changed in astronomical revolution was in fact, among many other things, the very idea, or metaphysics of circular motion. Now circular motion proved that earth circles the sun, not the opposite as Ptolemy had suggested Hobbes seems to think that the revolution of a planet simply explains some things in the most truthful way.

Revolution is the same as circular motion; it is a route that a body makes. Some parts of our sense experience, Hobbes explains, are reliable while others not. This in fact was the very centre of the astronomical debate in the age of astronomical revolution: How on earth should we explain our sense experience to manifest something other than it manifests?

This calls for a new thinking and new metaphysics that explain circular movement, among others things, in a new way.

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Hobbes participated in this new wave by explaining theoretically what circular movement, a revolution, was all about. A wider audience was not interested about the questions concerning the squaring the circle that caused a bad reputation for Hobbes in scientific and mathematical societies. After all the scientific debates Hobbes decided to write one more political text, the history of English Civil Wars, Behemoth. It is also a normative study of the events between In Behemoth Hobbes writes about rebellion, mutiny and the causes for the events of civil war.

He also reflects on the possibilities of acting differently, that is, gives his advice to readers as to how one should act in those situations. At the very end of the book Hobbes concludes the dialogue by getting to the problem of revolution. Just before Charles II was put back in the throne, the situation in England was nearly the same as it was at the beginning of the war.

The Rump parliament was almost the same as the parliament in , except for those who had died. Most of the members of the parliament were Presbyterians. History gives us a lesson, but sometimes that lesson is not understood. The political power seemed to return to the original place where it had all begun. In like fashion, the idea of artificiality could have had additional important consequences for the theories of government, especially if one recalls the context when Leviathan was written, that of the English civil war.

First and foremost, an artificial element is no longer as indispensable as a natural one, and it can be replaced. The theory of political thaumaturgy until that time implied that the application of any remedy was obviously a procedure full of pain and suffering and, most importantly, avoided to provide a solution if the ruling element of the body — the sovereign, usually associated with the head or heart — was himself afflicted 2 , preferring to focus on prophylaxis. The idea of artificiality no longer implies such restrictions, but, as we will see, Hobbes does not fully exploit the possibilities which this innovation provided.

Also following the old template, Hobbes establishes the same link between the relationships existing among the parts of the body and its health. This topos of the corporal metaphor remained basically constant from the twelfth century up until the seventeenth century: harmony means health, discord brings disease. Following the typical medical axiom, the more blatant the absence of unity, the more precarious the health of the body. The concept of soul implies the idea of immortality, so it would naturally be expected for the sovereignty to be immortal as well, if this analogy is followed to the letter.

The subjects owe obedience to the sovereignty, as set by the initial covenant of the Commonwealth, because this obedience is what enables the sovereignty to fulfil its main task, which is the protection of the body politic. The traditional corporal template of the English political thought was rather simple: the king was the supreme organ, as head or heart, his subjects were the parts.

Fifty years before, Forset went as far as to ascribe to them the role of physicians of the realm, albeit subordinate to the king Forset, , A good number of state officials are left without a specific analogy — doubtless, because there are many more of them than of any body parts, thus the extent of the analogy, if one writer wants to go deep into it, is naturally limited. Nevertheless, an important part such as the heart is left without any element of the Commonwealth being associated with it.

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The reason for this omission probably resides in the old importance of the heart, which was so often regarded as the chief part of the body. A solution could have been for Hobbes to establish a multiple analogy, in the manner of Edward Forset 4 , where the sovereign was not just the soul, but also the heart, yet the author avoids the issue altogether. Just as it was the case with many of the writers making use of the corporal analogy, a metaphor of the political disease develops in Leviathan as well. We have already seen several references made by Hobbes to the potential dissolution of the Commonwealth if some unfavourable conditions were met.

In making his case, Hobbes remains many a times faithful to the traditional vision of the political pathology. For him, the Commonwealth can collapse as a result of such an affliction which originates inside itself or as a result of an external aggression or an infiltration from the outside, whatever kind it might be. Within the initial template proposed by Thomas Hobbes in his introduction to Leviathan , the law together with equity was equated to the reason and the will of the human body: the law, together with those entrusted with its enforcement, had the role of an arbiter of good and evil.

The subject was approached as early as twelfth century, by John of Salisbury, and the opinions on this issue were always quite divided. The only consensus was that the sovereign was arguably subject to divine and natural law which sometimes were considered as covering the same area, while other times they were regarded at least partially distinct , but the relationship between him and the human law was much more complex.

The opinions of all sorts of writers ranged from the idea that it was desirable for the sovereign to submit to the human law, but without being compelled to do so, to much more radical attitudes, such as that expressed by John Fortescue, who argued that a prince could not change the laws without the consent of the subjects Fortescue, , Hobbes considered thus that the sovereign was not subject to those laws whose author was himself, because the existence of a law presupposed the existence of punishments if said law was broken.

The English political thought prior to the civil war believed it had found a solution to this dilemma by establishing that the king could not be punished for breaking the law, but his agents who fulfilled a command contrary to the law could actually be brought to justice. Yet, the events after showed the limitations of this doctrine and a king was actually put on trial for his alleged transgressions. Leviathan identifies also, by using a much more direct medical terminology, a series of political diseases which afflict the Commonwealth, without the author resorting though to an analogy of a similar extent to that employed by Thomas Starkey in A Dialogue between Reginald Pole and Thomas Lupset.

We see here reflections of the ancient medicine — the theoryexpressed by Galen in De Locis Affectis asserting the existence of three spirits within the man, the vital, rational and natural spirit Dolan, Adams-Smith, , —, borrowed later by the medieval medicine, and of the political and religious struggles of that period, when the civil authority opposed the religious one.

It is worth noticing that Hobbes was the first author who approached this matter: the conflict between the monarch and the pope was never regarded in the Middle Ages as an opposition between the secular and the spiritual, but an issue of jurisdiction, including over the spiritual aspects of power wielding. Even in the case of the Anglican Reformation in the sixteenth century, it was done in a similar manner, an equivalence between the Commonwealth and the Church being established, as could be seen at Richard Hooker 5.

In medieval and early modern medicine, great importance was granted to the relationship between bodily and spiritual health and to the way the latter influenced the former. Accordingly, the diseases of the Commonwealth were also, many of them, regarded in a similar manner, and the healing action of the sovereign was expected to have not just a mundane finality, but an eschatological one as well. Hobbes, though, brings about a radical innovation in this regard, separating the two powers and concluding that only the civil authority was responsible for the functioning of the Commonwealth.


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If the members of the clergy constituted an important part of the body politic in many of the previous corporal templates of the political organization, Hobbes seems to be even hostile to their involvement in the government of the state:. Hobbes expresses reticence also regarding the concept of the mixed monarchy. He accepts the reality of the existence of such forms of government, but he concludes that they were not particularly beneficial for the Commonwealth. The idea of a triple soul in the natural body was not a new one: it had been expressed by Galen, who theorized the existence of a one vital, one rational and one natural soul, and it showed up during the Middle Ages as well, both in the Galen-inspired medicine, and in theology, at Thomas Aquinas, with the model of a vegetative, a sensitive and a rational soul.

Just like Thomas Starkey more than a century earlier, albeit in a less elaborate form, the list of the diseases which afflicted the body politic according to Hobbes is one dominated by pragmatism: the issues of effective government of the Commonwealth are what concerns the author first and foremost and less the abstract matters related to dogma. When one reads the opinions of Thomas Hobbes in this regard, he must keep in mind the fact that, during the seventeenth century, the financial power of the state influenced the most its capacity to sustain military efforts: the human factor was less important at that time, at least compared with the modern times, when the situation will turn on its head — the potential human losses turning into the main deterrent against any military adventures.

The matter of taxation and the financial burden of war possessed, during the seventeenth century, the greatest capacity to cripple a state, regardless whether it was an absolutist monarchy, such as France, or one where royal power had to face many challenges, such as the English monarchy. Charles I tried to cope with the situation by imposing many unpopular taxes, and the economic difficulties had been one of the factors, besides those connected to religious matters and the disputes with respect to the limits of royal authority, which contributed to the start of the civil war.

This difficulty ariseth from the opinion that every subject hath of a property in his lands and goods exclusive of the soveraigns right to the use of the same. The Buddhist vinaya also reflects social contracts expected of the monks; one such instance is when the people of a certain town complained about monks felling saka trees, the Buddha tells his monks that they must stop and give way to social norms. Epicurus in the fourth century BCE seemed to have had a strong sense of social contract, with justice and law being rooted in mutual agreement and advantage, as evidenced by these lines, among others, from his Principal Doctrines see also Epicurean ethics :.

Natural justice is a pledge of reciprocal benefit, to prevent one man from harming or being harmed by another. Those animals which are incapable of making binding agreements with one another not to inflict nor suffer harm are without either justice or injustice; and likewise for those peoples who either could not or would not form binding agreements not to inflict nor suffer harm.

There never was such a thing as absolute justice, but only agreements made in mutual dealings among men in whatever places at various times providing against the infliction or suffering of harm. Quentin Skinner has argued that several critical modern innovations in contract theory are found in the writings from French Calvinists and Huguenots, whose work in turn was invoked by writers in the Low Countries who objected to their subjection to Spain and, later still, by Catholics in England.

All of these groups were led to articulate notions of popular sovereignty by means of a social covenant or contract, and all of these arguments began with proto-"state of nature" arguments, to the effect that the basis of politics is that everyone is by nature free of subjection to any government. These arguments, however, relied on a corporatist theory found in Roman law, according to which "a populus" can exist as a distinct legal entity.

Thus, these arguments held that a group of people can join a government because it has the capacity to exercise a single will and make decisions with a single voice in the absence of sovereign authority—a notion rejected by Hobbes and later contract theorists. In the early 17th century, Grotius — introduced the modern idea that individuals had natural rights that enabled self-preservation, employing this idea as a basis for moral consensus in the face of religious diversity and the rise of natural science.

He seeks to find a parsimonious basis for a moral beginning for society, a kind of natural law that everyone could accept. He goes so far as to say in his On the Law of War and Peace that even if we were to concede what we cannot concede without the utmost wickedness, namely that there is no God, these laws would still hold. The idea was considered incendiary since it suggested that power can ultimately go back to the individuals if the political society that they have set up forfeits the purpose for which it was originally established, which is to preserve themselves.

In other words, individual persons are sovereign. Grotius says that the people are sui juris under their own jurisdiction. People have rights as human beings, but there is a delineation of those rights because of what is possible for everyone to accept morally; everyone has to accept that each person as an individual is entitled to try to preserve himself.

Each person should, therefore, avoid doing harm to, or interfering with, another, and any breach of these rights should be punished. The first modern philosopher to articulate a detailed contract theory was Thomas Hobbes — According to Hobbes, the lives of individuals in the state of nature were "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short", a state in which self-interest and the absence of rights and contracts prevented the "social", or society.

Life was "anarchic" without leadership or the concept of sovereignty. Individuals in the state of nature were apolitical and asocial. This state of nature is followed by the social contract. The social contract was seen as an "occurrence" during which individuals came together and ceded some of their individual rights so that others would cede theirs.

Human life was thus no longer "a war of all against all". The state system, which grew out of the social contract, was, however, also anarchic without leadership. Just as the individuals in the state of nature had been sovereigns and thus guided by self-interest and the absence of rights, so states now acted in their self-interest in competition with each other. Just like the state of nature, states were thus bound to be in conflict because there was no sovereign over and above the state more powerful capable of imposing some system such as social-contract laws on everyone by force.

Indeed, Hobbes' work helped to serve as a basis for the realism theories of international relations, advanced by E. Carr and Hans Morgenthau. Hobbes wrote in Leviathan that humans "we" need the "terrour of some Power" otherwise humans will not heed the law of reciprocity , " in summe doing to others, as wee would be done to". John Locke 's conception of the social contract differed from Hobbes' in several fundamental ways, retaining only the central notion that persons in a state of nature would willingly come together to form a state.

Locke believed that individuals in a state of nature would be bound morally, by the Law of Nature, not to harm each other in their lives or possessions. Without government to defend them against those seeking to injure or enslave them, Locke further believed people would have no security in their rights and would live in fear. Individuals, to Locke, would only agree to form a state that would provide, in part, a "neutral judge", acting to protect the lives, liberty, and property of those who lived within it.

While Hobbes argued for near-absolute authority, Locke argued for inviolate freedom under law in his Second Treatise of Government. Locke argued that a government's legitimacy comes from the citizens' delegation to the government of their absolute right of violence reserving the inalienable right of self-defense or "self-preservation" , along with elements of other rights e.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau — , in his influential treatise The Social Contract , outlined a different version of social-contract theory, as the foundations of political rights based on unlimited popular sovereignty. Although Rousseau wrote that the British were perhaps at the time the freest people on earth, he did not approve of their representative government. Rousseau believed that liberty was possible only where the people as a whole ruled directly through lawmaking, where popular sovereignty was indivisible and inalienable.

However, he also maintained that the people often did not know their "real will", and that a proper society would not occur until a great leader "the Legislator" arose to change the values and customs of the people, likely through the strategic use of religion. Rousseau's political theory differs in important ways from that of Locke and Hobbes. Rousseau's collectivism is most evident in his development of the "luminous conception" which he credited to Denis Diderot of the general will.

Rousseau argues that a citizen cannot pursue his true interest by being an egoist but must instead subordinate himself to the law created by the citizenry acting as a collective. Rousseau's striking phrase that man must "be forced to be free" [15] should be understood [ according to whom?

Thus the law, inasmuch as it is created by the people acting as a body, is not a limitation of individual freedom, but rather its expression. Thus enforcement of laws, including criminal law , is not a restriction on individual liberty: the individual, as a citizen, explicitly agreed to be constrained if, as a private individual, he did not respect his own will as formulated in the general will. Because laws represent the restraints of civil freedom, they represent the leap made from humans in the state of nature into civil society.

In this sense, the law is a civilizing force, and therefore Rousseau believed that the laws that govern a people help to mold their character. Rousseau also analyses the social contract in terms of risk management, [16] thus suggesting the origins of the state as a form of mutual insurance. While Rousseau's social contract is based on popular sovereignty and not on individual sovereignty, there are other theories espoused by individualists , libertarians , and anarchists that do not involve agreeing to anything more than negative rights and creates only a limited state, if any.

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon — advocated a conception of social contract that did not involve an individual surrendering sovereignty to others. According to him, the social contract was not between individuals and the state, but rather among individuals who refrain from coercing or governing each other, each one maintaining complete sovereignty upon him- or herself:.

What really is the Social Contract? An agreement of the citizen with the government? No, that would mean but the continuation of [Rousseau's] idea. The social contract is an agreement of man with man; an agreement from which must result what we call society. In this, the notion of commutative justice, first brought forward by the primitive fact of exchange,