Rationality, uncertainty, and unanimity: an epistemic critique of contractarianism

Economics and Philosophy 37 (1):82-117 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

This paper considers contractarianism as a method of justification. The analysis accepts the key tenets of contractarianism: expected utility maximization, unanimity as the criteria of acceptance, and social-scientific uncertainty of modelled agents. In addition to these three features, however, the analysis introduces a fourth feature: a criteria of rational belief formation, viz. Bayesian belief updating. Using a formal model, this paper identifies a decisive objection to contractarian justification. Insofar as contractarian projects approximate the Agreement Model, therefore, they fail to justify their conclusions. Insofar as they fail to approximate the Agreement Model, they must explain which modelling assumption they reject.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,998

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The Limits of Hobbesian Contractarianism.Jody S. Kraus - 1993 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Contractarianism and animal rights.Mark Rowlands - 1997 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 14 (3):235–247.
Reconciling Justice and Pleasure in Epicurean Contractarianism.John J. Thrasher - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (2):423-436.
Contemporary Hobbesian Contractarianism.Jody Steven Kraus - 1987 - Dissertation, The University of Arizona
Rawls’ Avowed Error in Rational Contractarianism.Jung Soon Park - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 10:325-340.
Occurrent Contractarianism: A Preference-Based Ethical Theory.R. Malcolm Murray - 1995 - Dissertation, University of Waterloo (Canada)
A deliberative model of contractualism.Nicholas Southwood - 2008 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 7 (2):183-208.
Ordering Anarchy.John Thrasher - 2014 - Rationality, Markets and Morals 5 (1):30-46.
III—Contractarianism as a Political Morality.Benjamin Sachs - 2016 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 116 (1):49-67.
Reciprocity as a Justification for Retributivism.Jami L. Anderson - 1997 - Criminal Justice Ethics 16 (1):13-25.

Analytics

Added to PP
2021-03-02

Downloads
40 (#398,688)

6 months
16 (#157,013)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Alexander Schaefer
University at Buffalo

References found in this work

What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume & A. D. Lindsay - 1958 - Philosophical Quarterly 8 (33):379-380.
Epistemology of disagreement: The good news.David Christensen - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (2):187-217.
Reflection and disagreement.Adam Elga - 2007 - Noûs 41 (3):478–502.

View all 31 references / Add more references