Need a unique essay?
Order now

Essay on Social Ethics in Action

Date:  2021-05-26 17:10:28
5 pages  (1216 words)
Back to list
This essay has been submitted by a student.
This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Human beings are the only animals that refuse to be what they are (Camus, 2012), it can be assumed to be true in the light of how man is often the enemy of man.To fully understand the role of Social Ethics in action, given the Social Contract. We should begin to look at the two most famous proponents of the social contract; that is the philosopher Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. After which this the paper will proceed to define a social contract and continue to give a full exposition on the way forward in light of the safety belt law, which is a creation of the government, in keeping with the social contract.

If this sample essay on"Essay on Social Ethics in Action" doesn’t help,
our writers will!

In the thirteenth Chapter of the Leviathan man in his original or natural state" is located apparently by Thomas Hobbes. He sums it up as follows: Man in his natural state is; generally, all to be considered as equals and therefore, it is not foreseeable the tone can claim for himself any advantage to which another cannot attain to by being human (Camus, 2012). It is from this understanding of equality of capability that the notion of equality reinforced. Therefore, for any two people who may desire the same thing, but which, however, both of them cannot be ableto possess, they become enemies out of their human desires.Accordingly, Hobbes further posits that there are three 'motives of enmity among men; these are the 'want to acquire, for safety, and finally for glory. As such, where there is no fashioned power to keep the people in check, "they are often in the state of war in Hobbes' words. (Merriam, 1906).

Jean-Jacques Rousseau lived between 1712 and 1778; he revolutionized the whole political sphere when he declared these words, "Man is born free, but that everywhere he is in chains, all of his life (Pound, 1909). This statement underscored what Rousseau social contract would entail. Similarly, this means that Human being are free beings, and this freedom is due to his origin from the State of Nature, With development, many have not fully understood freedom, as common factors such as our culture, economics and trade have continued to spread some level of inequalities (Rousseau, 1987).

It is with the above understanding that the Social contract as an idea closely linked and tied to a modern knowledge of the political and even moral aspects. Therefore, to begin with, from both the standpoints of Hobbes and Rousseau. Men are endowed with a freedom which transcends them. This then means that for each one to fully enjoy their freedoms, the government comes in to protect each freedom as they step out of the state of nature. This means that the government is not only to act collectively for the good of the whole only, but ought to also be able to protect the individual even from himself (Merriam, 1906).

The pedagogy of religion especially, Christendom explicates a narrative where the fall of man results in unending woes. Therefore, for the individual to fully enjoy, life away from the initial animalisticstate. The government is instrumental in reinforcing on his short-comings (Pound, 1909). His obedience to the law, though at times seen as infringing, is for his well-being. Thus the safety belt law is not a violation, but the enforcement of individual freedom for security as they drive (Merriam, 1906).

From both the protagonists of the social contract, it is unanimously agreed that man once he has stepped out of the state of nature he can never revert. The fundamental law of nature which is the bedrock of the social contract stipulates some basic commandments; 14 in light of Hobbes, but herein to show that social ethics in action does in its right justify and allows the government to impose its authority on individual citizens. Commandments state that every single man ought to seek peace and secondly, each should for that matter be willing to suspend their rights to make peace. In this case for the government to keep the individual safe in the face of technological advancement, the safety belt law is introduced lawfully and is within the parameter of what it means to be in the social contract (Hampton, 1986).

While it is true as Charles Dickens once said, "law is an ass," it is equally true that man is not obligated to obey any law that contravenes their fundamental freedoms. This allows one to recall the words of Immanuel Kant when he advocates for the overthrow of any government that does not serve the will of the people. Any law which is not consistent with the real freedoms of man is not to be obeyed as it contravenes the very spirit of the social contract (Wm. A. Dunning, 1909).

Immediately man is born solitude becomes an enemy; it is this desire to be together that forms society. From the traditional theories angle, it is eloquent, evident that man cannot live without any looming danger either from self or immediate fellow man. As such, accidents being a major killer of men and women enjoying their personal freedoms of driving. It needs impresses upon the social contract via the government to reduce the loss of life and danger to the individual first and those around him, through such laws (Ritchie, 1891).

The individual, if left alone will only act in a manner that negates is own self-interest but this would be the contradiction of his fellow man. This brings forth the notion and power of reward and punishment is laid bare. The citizen will be acting against ethical standard if they are refusing to obey government laws, in this case being the use of seat belts. It is as Rousseau would say it, "Coerced to be free" it sounds cynical, but given Schopenhauer, it is positive in the negative (Hampton, 1986).

In the most recent times, a Theory of Justice by John Rawl can be cited as the recent endeavor in the understanding of the social contract. This school of thought, to further support this paper, broadly borrows from the Kantian model of understanding men and women in light of their capacity. Capacity which then paves the way for the universal ability to reason together. To emphasize this Rawls states that this contract is made active through impartiality. Which is the real essence of the safety belt law, to save lives impartially(Rawls, 1971).

In conclusion, Plato was right by positing that man is a social animal. As Hobbes would state it, the liberties of the people are limited by the will of the governed. And as such, the will to save lives on the road makes it ethical for the individual to fasten their safety belts, not only for their sake but that of the other person.


Camus, A. (2012). The Rebel: An essay on man in revolt. Vintage.

Hampton, Jean. 1986. Hobbes and the Social Contract. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Pound, R. (1909). Liberty of Contract. The Yale Law Journal, 18(7), 454-487. doi:10.2307/785551

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. Introductory to Political Writings. (Trans. Donald A. Cress) Hackett Publishing Company (1987).

Ritchie, D. (1891). Contributions to the History of the Social Contract Theory. Political Science Quarterly, 6(4), 656-676. doi:10.2307/2139203

Rawls, John. 1971. A Theory of Justice. Harvard University Press.

Merriam, C. (1906). Hobbes's Doctrine of the State of Nature. The culmination of the American Political Science Association, 3, 151-157. doi:10.2307/3038543

Wm. A. Dunning. (1909). The Political Theories of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Political Science Quarterly, 24(3), 377-408. doi:10.2307/2140885

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the website, please click below to request its removal: