Date of Submission

Spring 2022

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Jay Elliott

Abstract/Artist's Statement

The goal of this project is to articulate a critique of contractarianism and it links to the modern system of bureaucracy through a commitment to individual valuation and pluralism. This work illustrates the core of both contractarianism and bureaucracy as security and through this identification demonstrates the inability to consider social, political, and economic alternatives. This critique is based on the contractarianism of Thomas Hobbes and John Rawls, both demonstrating the deep contractarian need for security. This is extended further into a modern critique of bureaucracy as an extension of the contractarian framework, a system dependent on limiting conceptions of “expertise” and violence to secure its claim to authority.

In response, the articulation of a political philosophy labeled “decentralized perfectionism” is offered to oppose the structures of contractarianism and bureaucracy. This political philosophy finds its greatest inspiration in the writing of Friedrich Nietzsche, particularly the essay Schopenhauer as Educator, in which Nietzsche describes a social relationship predicated on the achievement of individualized perfection. An examination of Nietzsche’s early perfectionism and perfectionism as a general political philosophy leads to the articulation of the conditions necessary to realize a set of political values dedicated to perpetual transformation and overcoming.

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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