The distinguished philosopher David Gauthier examines Rousseau's evolving notion of freedom, particularly in his later works, where he focuses on a single quest: Can freedom and the independent self be regained? Rousseau's first answer is given in Emile, where he seeks to create a self-sufficient individual, neither materially nor psychologically enslaved to others. His second answer comes in the Social Contract, where he seeks to create a citizen who identifies totally with his community, so that he experiences his dependence on (...) it only as a dependence on himself. Implicitly recognizing the failure of these solutions, his third answer is one of the main themes of the Confessions and Reveries, where he creates himself as the man made for a kind of love that merges with another's into a self-sufficient unity. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
Reason, egoism, and utilitarianism, by H. Sidgwick.--Is egoism reasonable? By G. E. Moore.--Ultimate principles and ethical egoism, by B. Medlin.--In defense of egoism, by J. Kalin.--Virtuous affections and self-love, by F. Hutcheson.--Our obligation to virtue, by D. Hume.--Duty and interest, by H. A. Prichard.--The natural condition of mankind and the laws of nature, by T. Hobbes.--Why should we be moral? By K. Baier.--Morality and advantage, by D. P. Gauthier.--Bibliographical essay (p. 181-184).
This paper examines the interpretation of Hobbes as a political formalist which is developed by F. S. McNeilly in The Anatomy of Leviathan. McNeilly argues that Hobbes's demonstration of the necessity of political society is independent of Hobbes's particular view of man as an egotist bent at all costs on his own preservation. The first part of the argument of the paper uses techniques of decision theory and game theory to show that this argument which McNeilly ascribes to Hobbes is (...) not valid. However, the argument which Hobbes is traditionally supposed to put forward is shown to be valid. The second part of the paper examines McNeilly's interpretation of the text of Leviathan and shows that he has insufficient grounds for supposing that Hobbes attempted to construct a purely formal science of politics. (shrink)