Social contract theory is a broad ethical paradigm which focuses on the moral value of agreements between individuals or categories of individuals. The general premise is that it is morally acceptable for people do whatever it is they have agreed to do.

However, I think our actual experience is that there are some things that could not reasonably be contracted for. One example is the story of a man who agreed to let someone else kill and eat him. Did the "killer" do anything wrong, since he had the consent of the person being killed?

This leads to a more general question - what are the moral limits to agreements? Answering this question should rely on works by notable social contract theorists, so the question is What have notable political and social theorists identified as limitations to agreements?

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    Edited based on the advice in our "how to ask a great political theory question" meta post. Aug 29, 2018 at 20:11
  • If the question about what the limitations are is POB, isn't your question then soliciting opinions from a specific group of people (i.e. those theorists)? It might also be a problem that different cultures have different opinions on this matter. Perhaps it might be viable if you limit the question to a certain culture?
    – JJJ
    Aug 29, 2018 at 20:18
  • @indigochild I'm not saying that it's an opinion based question as is. Instead, it's listing opinions. Please consider this Meta post. By rephrasing it in a way that inquires about a single view point (to explain that view point) it is no longer a list question and you can successfully choose the best answer.
    – JJJ
    Aug 29, 2018 at 20:42
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    "so the question is What have notable political and social theorists identified as limitations to agreements?" How can such a question have a "factual" and "definitive answer"? The answer could only posit the opinions of other people. "notable political and social theorists"are just people with ideas, of no greater value than any ideas of the users' of this site. Relevant to "kill and eat him", there is Jonathan Swift satirically proposed eating children as part of a social contract. Rousseau's Social Contract reflects ideas in the times in which he lived. Any answer depends on perspective Aug 30, 2018 at 0:53
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    @indigochild "notable political and social theorists" is extremely broad. And it is not clear how those groups of individuals is in any way related to contracts. If you are asking specifically about the elements of a contract, you are asking a legal question, not a political question. A contract has three elements: offer, consideration and acceptance. The UCC is perhaps the foremost document which one could reference for what precisely a contract is. Theory is not involved in contracts, tangible concerns are. An individual can include whatever terms they decide to in a contract. Aug 30, 2018 at 1:31

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You are mixing Locke's theory of the 'social contract' and private contracts together. As such there's no logical answer. Locke's theory of the social contract is limited by his theory of 'Natural Rights' & consent of the governed, meaning that a government entity cannot compel performance of a social contract that violates individual rights. Private contracts on the other hand, in theory are only limited by what a private individual or entity are willing to perform.

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