Oxford English Dictionary Definition of Social Contract

The social contract is a concept that has been around for centuries, and it refers to the agreement between individuals and the government or governing body. This agreement has been a defining aspect of most societies and is typically established through laws, regulations, and social norms.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the social contract as "the implicit agreement among members of a society to cooperate for social benefits, for example by sacrificing some individual freedom for state protection." This definition emphasizes the idea that individuals agree to give up some of their personal freedoms in exchange for protection and benefits that the state provides.

The social contract has been a subject of discussion and debate throughout history, with political philosophers and thinkers exploring its various aspects. The concept has been used to justify the authority and legitimacy of governments, as well as to challenge them.

Some of the key elements of the social contract include the duties and obligations of individuals to the state, the rights and privileges that come with citizenship, and the power dynamics between the state and its citizens. The social contract also involves a complex interplay between the government and the governed, with each party having certain expectations of the other.

In modern times, the social contract has become increasingly important as societies have become more complex and diverse. Issues such as individual rights and the role of government in protecting those rights have become central to debates around social and political issues.

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