Arquivo para March 30th, 2023

Contractualism and Innocence

30 Mar

The great discussion of the contractualists was about the non-innocence of the person, they are all defenders of the powers of the state and, ultimately, of in dubio pro societate (when in doubt, in favor of society and not of the defendant), Hobbes saw man as evil and the state should police it, Locke saw how it limited the powers of the state and gave the people the right to rebellion and Rousseau saw man as good, society is what corrupted him.

None of them denies the need and priority of state powers, as they were pillars of all modern country constitutions, and their update is in John Rawls and his successor Michael Sandel.

Both were Kantian idealists and utilitarians, but there is a small difference in that Sandel criticized Rawls’s voluntarism, according to which political and moral principles are legitimized from the exercise of individual will through choice or consent.

Locke’s empiricism claimed for this: “we are all, by nature, free, equal and independent, no one can be excluded from this situation and subjected to the political power of others without having given his consent” (1988, section 95).

In order to understand Sandel’s position, it is necessary to read at least the work that we indicate or clearly understand his examples, which seek to make his concepts practical and clear, in relation to belonging to groups, as a guarantee of collective interests (he rejects the term communitarianism). cites two cases: that of a French resistance pilot who during World War II refused to bomb his hometown, even though he knew that this would contribute to the liberation of France (2012, p. 279), belonging to his hometown.

The second example is that of a rescue operation organized by the government of Israel to save Ethiopian Jews from refugee camps in Sudan (2012, p. 280), belonging to the Jewish people.

However, in one of his famous lectures in which he gives other examples, and makes several dialogues with the audience, he is caught in contradiction when he gives the example of 6 patients arriving at an emergency room and 1 is in serious condition while the 5 patients who need donation of different organs to survive and the patient in serious condition requires a lot of care time, asks the question if he would let him die to help others.

Most people agreed to let him die, but a young man (in the photo) said he had another solution, out of the 5 who were about to die, the one who died first would donate his organs to the others, which left Sandel embarrassed and arrived at admit: “it’s a good idea, except for the fact that it destroyed the philosophical point of view” (see video below).

There are interpersonal and ontological relationships that go beyond mere subjectivity, it is something between beings and not just between beings and their cultures or belongings, it is in a kind of collective soul, in a noosphere where everything is more than logical, it is onto-logical.

(155) Justiça com Michael Sandel O Lado Moral do Assassinato – YouTube


LOCKE, J. (1690). “Second Treatise of Government”. In: Two Treatises of Cambridge Government: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

SANDEL, M. (2012) “Justice – what is to do the right thing”. Rio de Janeiro: Brazilian Civilization.