Hegel and The Social Contract

by Anonymous

The first level of civil society is at the individual level. The second level of civil society is the group made up of the various individual and their interests. Under the first, each pursues its own desire, but for the individual to achieve all his goals must enter in relation to his fellow man in the social contract embodied by the second level called the group. They are in turn bound to the rules of the group. The group becomes a means for the individual, but the individual a means of the group. The social contract is the result of the dialectic, the agreement between the individuals in the society who share membership of the group and create mutual arrangements to progress their well being towards an absolute good society maximizing human progress on each level. The dialectic comes into play here. Hegel says: each individual asserts and satisfies himself by means of the other. The mutual recognition of consciousness is the necessary prerequisite for progress and action.

If my goal is to earning money for example, to maximize my economic interest, not only meeting others is a necessary means, but again I must be in a formal relationship with another person and they me, thus a mutual recognition of consciousness. The development of the mercantile society has precisely shown that every individual has become a means by which others satisfy their own needs. Let’s say I would like to drink a coffee in a cafe. This desire depends on the existence of the cafe owned by the coffee maker, and by asking for my coffee, I assert myself and satisfy myself by means of the of the other, while the owner seeks to support themselves and provide a service to their fellow man, and the coffee is then delivered to me, satisfying our mutual conscious desires. Finally, my well-being is mixed with that of all. We have used Hegelian categories to demonstrate that even the basic idea of each pursuing his or her particular individual self interest remains is in relation to the others, and dependent on others. This dialectic is the foundation of social relation.