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Toward a Naturalistic Foundation of the Social Contract

Christian Cordes and Christian Schubert ()

Papers on Economics and Evolution from Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography

Abstract: This paper delivers a step toward a naturalistic foundation of the social contract. While mainstream social contract theory is based on an original position model that is defined in an aprioristic way, we endogenize its key elements, i.e., develop them out of the individuals’ moral common sense. To this end, the biological and social basis of moral intuitions and empathy are explored. In this context, a key adaptation during evolution was the one that enabled humans to understand conspecifics as intentional agents. Since these aspects of behavior are considered to be an exaptation, they are not amenable to direct genetic explanations or to rationality-based approaches.

Keywords: Social contract theory; Fairness; Intentionality; Empathy; Human evolution (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A13 B52 D63 D71 P16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 24 pages
Date: 2005-03
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Journal Article: Toward a naturalistic foundation of the social contract (2007) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:esi:evopap:2005-01

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