The transcendental necessity of morality

David Gauthier tries to defend morality by showing that rational agents would choose to adopt a fundamental choice disposition that permits them to cooperate in prisoner's dilemmas. In this paper, I argue that Gauthier, rather than trying to work out a prudential justification for his favored choice disposition, should opt for a transcendental justification. I argue that the disposition in question is the product of socialization, not rational choice. However, only agents who are socialized in such a way that they acquire a disposition of this type could acquire the capacity to use language. Given the internal connection between language and thought, this means that no agent endowed with such a disposition could rationally choose to adopt another. Thus rational reflection by moral agents upon their own fundamental choice disposition will have no tendency to destabilize it
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  Philosophy of Mind
Categories No categories specified
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ISBN(s) 0031-8205
DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2003.tb00295.x
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