Despite earlier obituaries, the history of social contract theory seems, after all, to be by no means over. Not only is Rawls continuing to refine his own theory; his work has also stimulated a considerable outburst of contractarian theorising, notably in the field of moral (as distinct from political) philosophy.1 Despite its interest, this material has rather the character of work in progress, and is in any case somewhat tangential to our central theme in this book; so discussion of it would take us too far afield. Equally, the account given in this book of the past history of contract theory has had to be selective, and much that might have been included has been omitted, or relegated to the endnotes.
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