Contractiarianism and Bargaining Theory

Classical bargaining theory attempts to solve a bargaining problem using only the information about the problem contained in the representation of its possible outcomes in utility space. However, this information usually underdetermines the solution. I use additional information about interpersonal comparisons of utility and bargaining power. The solution is then the outcome that maximizes the sum of power-weighted utilities. I use these results to advance a contractarian argument for a utilitarian form of social cooperation. As the original position, I propose a hypothetical situation in which the members of society are rational, fully informed, free, and equal. I argue that in this original position they would adopt a utilitarian form of social cooperation. I conclude that utilitarian cooperation constitutes a moral ideal toward which society ought to aspire
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DOI 10.5840/jpr_1991_11
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