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The Democratic ConstitutionExperimentalism and Interpretation$
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Brian E. Butler

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226474502

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226474649.001.0001

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From Social Contract Theory to Sociable Contract Theory

From Social Contract Theory to Sociable Contract Theory

(p.182) Chapter Eight From Social Contract Theory to Sociable Contract Theory
The Democratic Constitution

Brian E. Butler

University of Chicago Press

Constitutional law theories often rest upon a foundational conception of the social contract. For instance John Rawls’ theory of justice rests upon a contractual idea whereby once and for all principles regulate all further political decisions within a society. From this a conception of constitutional law as a foundational static framework follows quite easily. In this chapter a different ideal for constitutional law is constructed – that of a “sociable contract.” Using the work of Grant Gilmore, Ian R. MacNeil, Ronald J. Gilson, Charles F. Sabel and Robert E. Scott, it is argued that an evolutionary, flexible and more empirically accurate conception of contract can inform the understanding of constitutional law in a manner that is harmonious with the demand of democratic experimentalism.

Keywords:   social contract theory, sociable contract theory, constitutional law, democratic experimentalism, Rawls, Gilmore, MacNeil, Gilson, Sabel, Scott

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