One of the ideas I've been struggling to understand are the nature of existence in regard to the idea of social contracts. For example, a social contract like a constitution seems to bind people to laws within a territorial boundary even if they didn't directly sign a contract. However, is it really binding?

In the book Philosophy of Jewish Law, the author defines a social contract as:

"Social contracts are usually understood to be agreements among the inhabitants of a region to abide by certain rules. Authority to define and enforce those rules is created through the contract: before the contract is concluded people live in a "state of nature" in which nobody has moral or legal authority over anyone else, except as the laws of nature provide (however that is interpreted)"

Now the author states social contracts are

agreements among the inhabitants of a region to abide by certain rules

If people living within that region didn't sign or agree to the terms of the social contract can they really be bound by the social contract? I've been attempting to find thinking, if any, on this, or something similar. At first glance it would seem that a contract cannot bind people who don't sign or agree voluntarily, yet most nations seem to do this at the foundation. Perhaps I'm missing something. Can we really bind our children, or our neighbors for that matter, to a national contract they didn't sign?

This article shed light on the nature of contracts in Jewish law but made no mention of social contracts: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0005_0_04597.html

CONTRACT (Heb. חוֹזֶה, ḥozeh), in general law theory a legally binding agreement between two or more parties, in terms of which one party undertakes for the benefit of the other to perform or refrain from a certain act. As such, contract is the main source of the law of *obligations.

This definition is in regards to involved parties. Does that mean then that those who are not directly related as a party are not bound by the contract? And if so, how does this then relate to the idea of a social contract? If they are in fact bound by social contracts, by what rationale is this allowed?

UPDATE: I was thinking of the Jews that lived within a country whose laws ran counter to the Torah laws. Are those Jews bound by the laws of that social contract even though they may be immoral from the perspective of Torah's laws?

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    Are you asking this from a viewpoint of halacha or from a viewpoint of natural law? The two can differ. I know that Lysander Spooner disagreed with social contracts because they don't fit any sort of formal definition of contract within natural/common law, but Lysander Spooner wasn't exactly a rosh yeshiva. – rosenjcb Dec 14 '14 at 15:47
  • Also: is this asked regarding the Torah rules being a form of social contract? How could our forefathers bind us, etc.? – Adám Dec 14 '14 at 16:01
  • @NBZ Asa Kasher wrote a great paper showing how Chazal interpreting Parsha Shoftim to mean that we don't stray (lo tasur) from the rulings of our judges isn't a paradox (the problem being justifying authority to interpret scripture by interpreting scripture to give yourself authority). That might tie into this question. – rosenjcb Dec 14 '14 at 16:04
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    Welcome to Mi Yodeya! – Scimonster Dec 14 '14 at 16:09
  • I apologize I should have been more specific. I meant from the point of view of halacha. – razorsyntax Dec 14 '14 at 16:25

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