Morals by Agreement

Oxford University Press (1986)
Is morality rational? In this book Gauthier argues that moral principles are principles of rational choice. He proposes a principle whereby choice is made on an agreed basis of cooperation, rather than according to what would give an individual the greatest expectation of value. He shows that such a principle not only ensures mutual benefit and fairness, thus satisfying the standards of morality, but also that each person may actually expect greater utility by adhering to morality, even though the choice did not have that end primarily in view. In resolving what may appear to be a paradox, the author establishes morals on the firm foundation of reason. Gauthier's argument includes an account of value, linking it to preference and utility; a discussion of the curcumstances in which morality is unnecessary; and an application of morals by agreement to relations between peoples at different levels of development and different generations. Finally, he reflects on the assumptions about individuality and community made by his account of rationality and morality.
Keywords Contracts  Contractarianism (Ethics
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Call number BJ1012.G38 1986
ISBN(s) 019824746X  
DOI 10.2307/2185033
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Jennifer Prah Ruger (2011). Shared Health Governance. American Journal of Bioethics 11 (7):32 - 45.
Jennifer Prah Ruger (2012). Global Health Justice and Governance. American Journal of Bioethics 12 (12):35-54.

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