Moral contractualism

Philosophy Compass 4 (6):926-937 (2009)
This article provides a critical introduction to contractualism as a moral or ethical theory, that is, as a theory of the rightness and wrongness of individual conduct – focusing specifically on the influential 'Kantian' version of contractualism due to T. M. Scanlon. I begin by elucidating the key features of Scanlon's contractualism: justifiability to others; reasonable rejectability; the individualist restriction; and mutual recognition. I then turn to discuss both its appeal and the main objections that have been raised to it – objections concerning our duties to the cognitively limited and impaired, aggregation, demandingness, normativity and explanatory adequacy. I conclude by mentioning some contractualist alternatives to Scanlon's theory.
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DOI 10.1111/j.1747-9991.2009.00256.x
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References found in this work BETA
Thomas Scanlon (1998). What We Owe to Each Other. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Derek Parfit (2011). On What Matters. Oxford University Press.
John Rawls (2009/2005). A Theory of Justice. In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Philosophy and Rhetoric. Oxford University Press 133-135.

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