Categorically Rational Preferences and the Structure of Morality

In Peter Danielson (ed.), Modeling Rationality, Morality and Evolution; Vancouver Studies in Cognitive Science, Volume 7. Oxford University Press (1998)
Abstract
David Gauthier suggested that all genuine moral problems are Prisoners Dilemmas (PDs), and that the morally and rationally required solution to a PD is to co-operate. I say there are four other forms of moral problem, each a different way of agents failing to be in PDs because of the agents’ preferences. This occurs when agents have preferences that are malevolent, self-enslaving, stingy, or bullying. I then analyze preferences as reasons for action, claiming that this means they must not target the impossible, they must be able to be acted on in the circumstances, their targets must be attainable, and having the preferences must make their targets more likely. For groups of agents to have a distribution of preferences, their preferences must jointly have those four features, this imposing a kind of universalizability requirement on possible preferences. I then claim that, if all agents began with preferences satisfying these requirements, their preferences would not be of the morally problematic sort (on pain, variously, of circularity or contradiction in the specification of their targets). Instead, they would be either morally innocent preferences, or ones which put the agents in PDs. And it would then be instrumentally rational for the agents to prefer mutual co-operation. Thus if all agents initially had rationally permissible preferences and made rational choices of actions and preferences thereafter, they would never acquire immoral preferences, and so never be rationally moved to immoral actions. Further, the states of affairs such agents would be moved to bring about would be compatible with what Rawls’ agents would chose behind a veil of ignorance. Morality therefore reduces to rationality; necessarily, the actions categorically required by morality are also categorically required by rationality.
Keywords Morality  Rationality  Gauthier  Kant  Preferences  Rawls  hypothetically rational  categorically rational  moral problems  Prisoners Dilemma
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Download options
Our Archive
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Co-Operative Solutions to the Prisoner's Dilemma.Duncan Macintosh - 1991 - Philosophical Studies 64 (3):309 - 321.
Where Do Preferences Come From?Franz Dietrich & Christian List - 2013 - International Journal of Game Theory 42 (3):613-637.
McClennen's Early Co-Operative Solution to the Prisoner's Dilemma.Duncan MacIntosh - 1991 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 29 (3):341-358.
Mistakes About Preferences in the Social Sciences.D. M. Hausman - 2011 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 41 (1):3-25.
The Impossibility of Rational Politics?Peter Stone - 2003 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 2 (2):239-263.
Experimental Tests of Rationality.Daniel Read - 2009 - In Paul Anand, Prasanta Pattanaik & Clemens Puppe (eds.), The Handbook of Rational and Social Choice. Oxford University Press.
Added to PP index
2010-12-03

Total downloads
391 ( #6,755 of 2,180,802 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
194 ( #430 of 2,180,802 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums