I endlessly come across people citing the social contract as a basis for ethics. "It's just self-interest," they say. "I avoid harming others because I don't want to set myself outside of the contract and be harmed by others." This has come up most recently on Pharyngula, where PZ Myers says this: "Where does this value [respecting consent] come from? Not gods, but self-interest. I do not want things done to me against my will, so I participate in a social contract that requires me to respect others’ autonomy as well." Now, this isn't the only basis PZ gives, but I'd like to use it to present a 'gotcha' question to people who make this arugment:
If you were in a situation where you could break the social contract to gain advantage and nobody would know, would you? Why not?