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Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy$
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Karl Widerquist and Grant S. McCall

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780748678662

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748678662.001.0001

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(p.219) Chapter 11 Implications
Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy

Karl Widerquist

Grant S. McCall

Edinburgh University Press

Earlier chapters of this book found that the Hobbesian hypothesis is false; the Lockean proviso is unfulfilled; contemporary states and property rights systems fail to meet the standard that social contract and natural property rights theories require for their justification. This chapter assesses the implications of those findings for the two theories. Section 1 argues that, whether contractarians accept or reject these findings, they need to clarify their argument to remove equivocation. Section 2 invites efforts to refute this book’s empirical findings. Section 3 discusses a response open only to property rights theorists: concede this book’s empirical findings and blame government failure. Section 4 considers the argument that this book misidentifies the state of nature. Section 5 considers a “bracketing strategy,” which admits that observed stateless societies fit the definition of the state of nature, but argues that they are not the relevant forms of statelessness today. Section 6 discusses the implications of accepting both the truth and relevance of the book’s findings, concluding that the best response is to fulfil the Lockean proviso by taking action to improve the lives of disadvantaged people.

Keywords:   State of nature, Social contract (theory), Lockean proviso, Hobbesian hypothesis, Property (property rights theory), Propertarian (-ism), Contractarian (-ism), Libertarian (-ism), Basic income, Statelessness (stateless people(s))

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