Aquinas and modern contractualism

When modern ethical contractualists defend their view against “teleology,” they typically have in mind utilitarian or consequentialist theories according to which valuable states of affairs are to be promoted. But if we look to older teleological theories e.g. that found in the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas we will find a kind of teleology that can be incorporated beneficially into contractualist ethics. In this paper I argue that Scanlon would be well served, on grounds to which he appeals, to make a teleological modification to his theory of what we owe to each other. Drawing not only on Aristotle and Aquinas, but also on the thought and life of Martin Luther King, I argue that Scanlon's contractualism can and should be modified to incorporate the ancient and medieval teleological emphasis on personal fruition and legitimate self-assertion.
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DOI 10.1080/09672550903164434
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What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Morals by Agreement.David P. Gauthier - 1986 - Oxford University Press.
Ethics.William K. Frankena - 1963 - Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall.
Aristotle's First Principles.Terence Irwin - 1988 - Oxford University Press.

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