A Hobbesian Derivation of the Principle of Universalization

Philosophical Studies 158 (1):83-107 (2012)
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Abstract

In this article, I derive a weak version of Kant's categorical imperative within an informal game-theoretic framework. More specifically, I argue that Hobbesian agents would choose what I call the weak principle of universalization, if they had to decide on a rule of conflict resolution in an idealized but empirically defensible hypothetical decision situation. The discussion clarifies (i) the rationality requirements imposed on agents, (ii) the empirical conditions assumed to warrant the conclusion, and (iii) the political institutions that are necessary to implement the derived principle. The analysis demonstrates the moral significance of the weak principle of universalization and its epistemic advantage over the categorical imperative.

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Michael Moehler
Virginia Tech

Citations of this work

The Rawls–Harsanyi Dispute: A Moral Point of View.Michael Moehler - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (1):82-99.
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References found in this work

Groundwork for the metaphysics of morals.Immanuel Kant - 1785 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Thomas E. Hill & Arnulf Zweig.
Leviathan.Thomas Hobbes - 1904 - Harmondsworth,: Penguin Books. Edited by C. B. Macpherson.
A treatise of human nature.David Hume & A. D. Lindsay - 1969 - Harmondsworth,: Penguin Books. Edited by Ernest Campbell Mossner.
A treatise of human nature.David Hume & D. G. C. Macnabb (eds.) - 1969 - Harmondsworth,: Penguin Books.

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