© Ysabel Johnston 2014
The social contract has become the dominant basis for political society, yet political theology is still prevalent in many countries. Rene Girard’s theory of human nature as involving mimesis and ritual offers a more sufficient account for this continuity than that of the social contract theorists. This paper will demonstrate how the views of human nature and the formation of society given by Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau not only failed to account for our religious and ritualistic aspects, but provided a basis for the evolution of the social contract into a pragmatic contract. Originally it was conceived as predicated upon natural rights; but the pragmatic use creates arbitrary rights agreed upon by a society. When considered in light of humanity’s imitative and rivalistic tendencies, this poses a serious worry. Girard’s theory provides the understanding that society isn’t only predicated upon agreement, but also upon imitation, religion, and ritual.
Johnston, Ysabel (2014) "Mimesis and Ritual: Girardian Critique of the Social Contract," Res Cogitans: Vol. 5: Iss. 1, Article 22. http://dx.doi.org/10.7710/2155-4838.1114