David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Southern Journal of Philosophy 28 (3):427-447 (1990)
I examine the self-interest based contractarian's attempt to answer the question, "Why be moral?" In order to defeat the skeptic who accepts reasons of self-interest only, contractarians must show that the best theory of practical reasons includes moral reasons. They must show that it is rational to act morally even when doing so conflicts with self-interest. ;I examine theories offered by Hobbes, Baier, and Grice, and show they fail to defeat skepticism. Hobbes' theory gives no special weight to moral reasons as they can be eliminated in favor of prudential reasons; Baier's theory fails to establish that from the fact that it is rational to adopt the moral points of view, it is rational to act from it; and Grice's theory attempts to link promising, obligations, and reasons, but leaves certain crucial points in the argument undefended. ;In Morals by Agreement, Gauthier offers the best theory of its kind, and treatment of it constitutes the bulk of the thesis. Gauthier tries to refute the skeptic by showing that it is in one's interest to adopt a moral disposition, and that every action expressing the disposition is rational. The dispositional move is one the contractarian must make to avoid the problems facing the other theories examined. But Gautheir's argument for the rationality of the disposition relies on an empirically dubious assumption of translucency, and as such, fails to show that persons in ordinary circumstances are rational to be moral. Moreover, Gauthier fails to show that the rationality of the disposition carries over to the particular actions expressing it. The alternative view, called the "Independency Thesis," is more plausible than Gauthier's, but not available to him. Thus the contractarian fails to defeat skepticism
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Anita M. Superson (2009). The Moral Skeptic. Oxford University Press.
Peter Vallentyne (1989). Contractarianism and the Assumption of Mutual Unconcern. Philosophical Studies 56 (2):187 - 192.
Sheldon Wein (1988). Humean Minds and Moral Theory. Philosophy Research Archives 14:229-236.
P. Bloomfield (2011). The Moral Skeptic, by Anita M. Superson. Mind 120 (479):914-917.
Lisa Tessman (2011). The Moral Skeptic. By Anita Superson. Hypatia 26 (4):883-887.
Thomas Donaldson (1995). Contractarian Business Ethics. Business Ethics Quarterly 5 (2):173-186.
Anita M. Superson (1998). Feminist Ethics: Defeating the Why-Be-Moral Skeptic. Journal of Social Philosophy 29 (2):59-86.
Richard Yetter Chappell (forthcoming). Knowing What Matters. In Peter Singer (ed.), Does Anything Really Matter? Parfit on Objectivity. Oxford University Press.
Peter Vallentyne (1986). Gauthier on Rationality and Morality. Eidso 5 (1):79-95.
Neera K. Badhwar (2010). Superson, Anita M. The Moral Skeptic . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009 . Pp. 250. $24.95 (Paper). Ethics 120 (3):635-639.
Robert Bass (2000). Pure Contractarianism: Promise, Problems, Prospects. Journal of Value Inquiry 34 (2-3):319-332.
James Fieser (1989). Is Hume a Moral Skeptic? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 50 (1):89-105.
Ram Neta (2006). Epistemology Factualized: New Contractarian Foundations for Epistemology. Synthese 150 (2):247 - 280.
Frank Lovett (2007). Consent and the Legitimacy of Punishment: Response to Brettschneider. Political Theory 35 (6):806 - 810.
Howard Brody (1987). The Physician-Patient Relationship: Models and Criticisms. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 2 (2).
Added to index2010-09-15
Total downloads13 ( #136,961 of 1,410,535 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #178,988 of 1,410,535 )
How can I increase my downloads?