How can we live together without subordination and oppression? What does it mean to treat each other as free and equal persons? This book uses contemporary feminist insights to examine aspects of the classic social contractarians' arguments, focusing specifically upon the work of Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Rousseau and Kant. Considering the relationship between the 'self' and the law, this volume also looks at the points at issue between feminist political theorists and considers the usefulness of contractarian arguments for feminist politics today, together with an examination of the relationship between their political, legal and moral analyses.
'This erudite and accessible study of social contract theory brings a welcome new perspective to the legacy of modern political thought. This perspective yields innovative interpretations of notions such as equality, justice and "the individual". The inclusion of the usually neglected Spinoza adds depth to Richardson's brilliant and provocative project of rethinking the relevance of classical contractarianism for theory and practice today.' Moira Gatens, University of Sydney, Australia 'Richardson's book provides a stimulating analysis of how feminist theorists engage with the social contract tradition and how conceptions of the self can be reformulated.' Feminist Legal Studies
Contents: Introduction; The social contractarians and contemporary feminist philosophy; Hobbes; Spinoza; Locke; Rousseau; Kant; Conclusion: the social contractarians and contemporary images of women; Bibliography; Index.