Hooker's rule‐consequentialism and Scanlon's contractualism—A re‐evaluation

Ratio 35 (4):261-274 (2022)
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Brad Hooker’s rule-consequentialism and T.M. Scanlon’s contractualism have been some of the most debated ethical theories in normative ethics during the last twenty years or so. This article suggests that these theories can be compared at two levels. Firstly, what are the deep, structural differences between the rule-consequentialist and contractualist frameworks in which Hooker and Scanlon formulate their views? Secondly, what are the more superficial differences between Hooker’s and Scanlon’s formulations of these theories? Based on exploring these questions and several purported differences between Hooker’s and Scanlon’s views, this article argues that, at the structural level, the two theories are more similar than previous recognised. It suggests that there is only one candidate for a deeper difference and even it may not be that significant. This insight sheds new light on both contractualism and rule-consequentialism, and it will also help us to formulate better versions of the views.

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Jussi Suikkanen
University of Birmingham

Citations of this work

Blame, Nudging, and the Actual Moral Relationship.Nicholas Sars - 2023 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 31 (1):18-35.

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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.
A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Morals by agreement.David P. Gauthier - 1986 - New York: Oxford University Press.
What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):323-354.

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