Moral contractualism

Philosophy Compass 4 (6):926-937 (2009)
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Abstract

This article provides a critical introduction to contractualism as a moral or ethical theory, that is, as a theory of the rightness and wrongness of individual conduct – focusing specifically on the influential 'Kantian' version of contractualism due to T. M. Scanlon. I begin by elucidating the key features of Scanlon's contractualism: justifiability to others; reasonable rejectability; the individualist restriction; and mutual recognition. I then turn to discuss both its appeal and the main objections that have been raised to it – objections concerning our duties to the cognitively limited and impaired, aggregation, demandingness, normativity and explanatory adequacy. I conclude by mentioning some contractualist alternatives to Scanlon's theory.

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2009-11-26

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Nicholas Southwood
Australian National University

Citations of this work

Contractualism for Us As We Are.Nicholas Southwood - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (3):529-547.
Contractualism.Jussi Suikkanen - 2020 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Contractualism.Elizabeth Ashford - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The sources of normativity.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1996 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Onora O'Neill.

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