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Feminist Legal Studies

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 109–112 | Cite as

Janice Richardson: The Classic Social Contractarians: Critical Perspectives from Contemporary Feminist Philosophy and Law

Ashgate, Farnham, 2009, 174 pp, price £55 (HB), ISBN 9780754670179
  • Jill Marshall
Book Review
  • 67 Downloads

The Social Contract Tradition

Political and legal theories are often founded on assumptions about the characteristics shared by human beings, with the political or legal system said to be formed so as to advance these characteristics. Usually the presumption is that humans have a common ‘nature’ and that certain ways of co-existing are therefore ‘natural’ and pre-social. In the twenty-first century, genetic and other biological developments have become important in informing these ideas, but previously they were frequently manifested in the field of philosophy, mainly through considerations of the importance of nature or nurture, and in the distinction between mind and body, and between reason and the passions and/or the emotions.

Along with the idea of a natural state for mankind, or state of nature, came the fiction of the social contract (see, e.g., Hobbes 1960; Locke 1988; Rousseau 1968; Rawls 1971). This story sits at the heart of contemporary political and legal theory,...

References

  1. Battersby, Christine. 1998. The phenomenal woman: Feminist metaphysics and the patterns of identity. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Boucher, David, and Paul Kelly (eds.). 1994. The social contract from Hobbes to Rawls. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Hobbes, Thomas. 1960. Leviathan. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. (Reprint of original Oakeshott ed. 1651).Google Scholar
  4. Locke, John. 1988. Two treatises of government. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Macpherson, Crawford B. 1962. The political theory of possessive individualism: Hobbes to Locke. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  6. Nedelsky, Jennifer. 1991. Law, boundaries and the bounded self. In Law and the order of culture, ed. Robert Post, 162–189. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  7. Rawls, John. 1971. A theory of justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. 1968. The social contract. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of LawQueen Mary University of LondonLondonUK

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