Abosede Ipadeola: The Debacle of the Social Pact


Abosede Ipadeola: The Debacle of the Social Pact

The Hall

A talk on finding a new theoretical framework for Egalitarian Justice.


The pursuit of egalitarian justice necessitates a sound theoretical basis that can tackle the issue of marginalization and subjugation resulting from various forms of oppression, including sexism, racism, and classism. Contractarianism has been a popular theory for about five centuries and has been widely considered a doctrine of egalitarianism by some political theorists. Despite its numerous criticisms, the social contract theory still holds a prominent status as a key theory for egalitarian justice. However, Carole Pateman and Charles Mills have contended that the contractarian approach legitimizes gender and racial inequalities by excluding and marginalizing women and people of color from the original agreement. Therefore, the social contract theory is incapable of generating or fostering equality.
This talk proposes postcontractarianism as a viable alternative to the social contract. Postcontractarianism argues that the basis for egalitarianism cannot be grounded solely on agreement, but rather on understanding. It draws on Hegel’s philosophy of history, Nef’s idea of mutual vulnerability, and Obiri, an African theory of cosmology, to argue for the imperative of social equality.


Abosede Ipadeola is a Fellow at THE NEW INSTITUTE and is involved in the program'Black Feminism and the Polycrisis' . She is an African philosopher who has been teaching philosophy since 2007. Abosede studied and began her academic career at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, conducting her doctoral research in the domains of feminist philosophy and political philosophy. She received her PhD from the University of Ibadan in 2014. Her thesis, titled 'A Maternal Feminist Critique of John Locke’s Contractarian Egalitarianism', focused on maternal feminism. Abosede was awarded the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation's postdoctoral research fellowship and conducted research at Katholische Universität in Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Germany. Currently, her research interests include Black feminist studies, African philosophy, global political philosophy, and gender studies. Her research interests encompass a range of topics, including global political philosophy, African philosophy, gender studies, epistemology, and postcolonial studies.

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