Can Contractualism Save Us from Aggregation

The Journal of Ethics 16 (1):39-66 (2012)
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Abstract

This paper examines the efforts of contractualists to develop an alternative to aggregation to govern our duty not to harm (duty to rescue) others. I conclude that many of the moral principles articulated in the literature seem to reduce to aggregation by a different name. Those that do not are viable only as long as they are limited to a handful of oddball cases at the margins of social life. If extended to run-of-the-mill conduct that accounts for virtually all unintended (in the sense of undesired) harm to others—noncriminal activities that impose some risk of harm on others—they would rule out all action. Moreover, because such conduct poses an irreducible conflict between freedom of action and freedom from expected harm, it can be regulated only by principles that accept the necessity of making precisely the sorts of interpersonal trade-offs that contractualism is foundationally committed to reject: trade-offs in which the numbers count, such that a risk of serious harm to one person can be justified by small benefits to the many

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Citations of this work

Limited Aggregation and Risk.Seth Lazar - 2018 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 46 (2):117-159.
Other People.Kieran Setiya - 2023 - In Sarah Buss & Nandi Theunissen (eds.), Rethinking the Value of Humanity. New York, US: OUP Usa.
Ex Ante and Ex Post Contractualism: A Synthesis.Jussi Suikkanen - 2019 - The Journal of Ethics 23 (1):77-98.
Contractualism.Jussi Suikkanen - 2020 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
On Ex Ante Contractualism.Korbinian Rüger - 2018 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 13 (3).

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References found in this work

What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - New York: Oxford University Press.
What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):323-354.
A theory of justice.John Rawls - 2009 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring ethics: an introductory anthology. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 133-135.

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