The central idea of the social contract theories, as we have pointed out, is that consultation with the parties must model the right problem of “you and me”. This now leads the theories of the social contract in two opposite directions. For the deliberations of the hypothetical parties to model our problem and for their conclusions to be important to us, the parties must be like us. The closer the parties are to “you and me,” the better your thoughts you and I will model and be important to us. On the other hand, contract theories aim to advance our problematic problem by building parties that are idealizations of you and me, indicating that some idealization is necessary and beneficial. Recognising that certain forms of idealization are problematic does not mean that we should accept what Gau called “just populism” that every human being in a society actually sings in the social and moral institutions concerned (Gaus 1996, 130-131). Such a standard would take us back to the tradition of the older social contract, based on direct consent. But, as we draw from paragraph 3, modern theories of the treaty are appeals to our reason, not to our self-binding power of approval. An empirical approach follows Schelling`s (1960) work on the theory of negotiations and games, looking at how real people negotiate and reach an agreement.
Pioneers of experimental economics used laboratory experiments to study how subjects behaved in cases of divisional problems (Hoffman et al. 2000, Smith, 2003). Some of the most interesting results came, perhaps surprisingly, from asymmetrical trading games like the ultimatum game (Smith 1982). Since these initial experiments, important experimental work has been carried out on negotiation problems and cooperation agreements in the economy. Much of the most philosophically relevant work involves the importance of social norms and conventions in determining the outcome (Bicchieri 2016, Vanderschraaf shortly). Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) was the first modern philosopher to articulate a detailed contractual theory. According to Hobbes, the lives of individuals in the state of nature were “lonely, poor, wicked, brutal and short”, a state where self-interest and the absence of rights and contracts prevented society or society. Life was “anarchic” (without leadership or concept of sovereignty). Individuals in the state of nature were apolitical and antisocial.
This situation is followed by the social contract. The central assertion that the theory of the social contract is getting closer is that the law and the political order are not natural, but human creations. The social contract and the political order it creates are simply the means to achieve an end – the usefulness of the people concerned – and only to the extent that they are part of the agreement. Hobbes argued that the government was not a party to the original treaty and that citizens were not obliged to submit to the government if it was too weak to act effectively to suppress fractionism and civil unrest. According to other theorists of the social contract, if the government fails to safeguard its natural rights (Locke) or to satisfy the best interests of society (called “general will” by Rousseau), citizens can withdraw their duty of respect or change of direction through elections or other means, including, if necessary, violence. Locke believed that natural rights were inalienable, which is why God`s reign replaced the authority of government, while Rousseau believed that democracy (autocracy) was the best way to guarantee well-being while preserving individual freedom under the rule of law. The concept of a social contract was invoked in the U.S. Declaration of Independence. The social theories of contracts were eclipsed in the 19th century in favour of utilitarianism, hegelianism and Marxism; they were revived in the 20th century, notably in the form of a thought experiment by John Rawls.  In Plato`s best-known dialogue, Republic, the theory of the social contract is again represented, albeit this time less favourable.