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Grant number like: FT-55734-08

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Paul Robert DeHart
Lee University (Cleveland, TN 37311-4475)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2008 – 7/31/2008

Covenantal Realism: Political Obligation after the Fall of Conventional Social Contract Theory

Political and legal theorists have leveled lethal attacks against the idea that an actual or hypothetical social contract can be used to ground the authority of government. Yet human equality seems to imply that consent is a necessary condition for some humans to have authority over others, at least inasmuch as authority is to be distinguished from mere power or force. In short, it seems on the one hand that social contract theory, as conventionally framed, is unworkable and, on the other hand, that the consent of the governed is indispensable to legitimate government. This project aims to present this crisis in its full light and to explore a possible solution: constructing social contract theory on moral-realist commitments.