Contractarianism

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (forthcoming)

Authors
Michael Moehler
Virginia Tech
Abstract
This book provides a systematic defense of moral contractarianism as a distinct approach to the social contract with particular relevance for morally diverse societies. In modern philosophy, the position of moral contractarianism has been advanced most notably by Hobbes (1651), Hampton (1986), Kavka (1986), Gauthier (1969, 1986), and Moehler (2018). This book elucidates, in comparison to moral conventionalism and moral contractualism, the distinct features of moral contractarianism, its scope, and conceptual and practical challenges that concern the relationship between morality and self-interest, the problems of assurance and compliance, rule-following, counterfactualism, and the nexus between morals and politics. In addition, the book offers a qualified defense of the use of formal methods, such as decision theory and game theory, in moral philosophy. The book argues that, if appropriately conceived, moral contractarianism is conceptually coherent, empirically sound, and practically relevant, and has much to offer to contemporary moral philosophy.
Keywords Self-interest  Compliance  Assurance  Multistage social contract theory  Multilevel social contract theory
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