Dr. John W. Ray of Montana Tech’s Liberal Studies Department has had a paper entitled “On Hegel as the Most Adequate Social Contract Theorist” accepted for presentation at the Thirty-Second International Hegel Congress to be held at the University of Tampere-Finland in the spring. Co-sponsors for the congress also include the University of Helsinki, the Society for European Philosophy and the International Hegel Society.
Recently, because of his scholarly work on Hegel, Ray was invited into the membership of the International Hegel Association (Internationale Hegel-Vereinigung) sponsored by the Department of Philosophy at the University of Heidelberg, Germany and the University of Berlin. He received his PhD in political philosophy from the University of Wisconsin and has been teaching at Montana Tech since 1975.
Social contract theory, whereby the state is the product of consent, has been an enduring explanation of political obligation for several hundred years. It is also the theoretical underpinning of the American Constitution. Ray’s paper argues that while not generally recognized as a social contract theorist like Locke, Hobbes or Rousseau, Hegel has an important perspective on the social contract as the product of consciousness.