Posted: Apr 20, 2019 10:48 pm
by Thommo
Spearthrower wrote:
Thommo wrote:I wonder if the opening post could do with some context. I'm assuming there's a (an American) libertarian/anarchist context to this. Maybe this is colouring the sort of replies that are being induced.

One of the problems is it's very hard to see intuitively (well, for me at least) in what framework we might say that the social contract is a legal fiction (or social construct), but that the concept of contracts being "binding", or the concept of "natural rights" is not.



Not necessarily.

You were also born into a family, and had no choice over that. You were born in a nation state, and had no choice over that. You were born in a culture speaking a particular language and had no choice over that.

By and large, we don't tend to think of new-born infants as being able to make rational choices anyway, so you had the benefit of all those obligations thrust onto you that allowed you now to conceive of whether you want to pay your taxes or go to prison! :)


I essentially agree with all that. However, I can't quite see how that would relate to a self-consistent viewpoint that sees the social contract as a legal fiction (or social construct) but does not see the concept of contractual obligations and/or the concept of natural rights as being a legal fiction (or social construct).

Spooner's argument seemed, at the time, to me (if I recall correctly), to rely on exactly the assumption of such a viewpoint, but I'm certainly not convinced that there is such a thing.