The embodiment thesis

Jon Garthoff
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
In this essay I articulate and defend a thesis about the nature of morality called “the embodiment thesis”. The embodiment thesis states that moral values underdetermine the obligations and entitlements of individual persons, and that actual social institutions must embody morality by specifying these moral relations. I begin by presenting two thought experiments that elucidate and motivate the embodiment thesis. I then proceed by distinguishing the embodiment thesis from a Rawlsian doctrine about the nature of justice, from the doctrine of moral relativism, and from solutions to the coordination problem of rational choice theory.
Keywords basic structure of society  coordination problem  embodiment  fairness  John Rawls  moral relativism  moral values  social institutions
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Reprint years 2005
DOI 10.1023/B:ETTA.0000019983.64526.15
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