The Social‐contract Strategy for the Justification of Moral Principles

Journal of Moral Education 5 (2):107-126 (1976)
Abstract: Rawls? arguments in defence of his claim to derive principles of morality and justice from his hypothetical? original position? are critically examined and found to be unconvincing. In particular, it is pointed out that a theory of justice cannot be at one and the same time (a) descriptive?explanatory and therefore tested against people's actual judgments in particular cases, and (b) prescriptive?justificatory and therefore providing rationally derived principles against which people's actual judgments are tested for correctness. Rawls? attempt to conflate these two types of theory is necessarily doomed
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References found in this work BETA
David P. Gauthier (1967). Morality and Advantage. Philosophical Review 76 (4):460-475.
Thomas Nagel (1973). Rawls on Justice. Philosophical Review 82 (2):220-234.
John Rawls (2009/2005). A Theory of Justice. In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Ethics: An Introductory Anthology. Oxford University Press. 133-135.
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