Gauthier and the capacity for morality

Res Publica 9 (3):223-242 (2003)
In Morals by Agreement, David Gauthier tries to provide a justification of morality from morally neutral premises within the constraints of an instrumental conception of reason. But his reliance on this narrow conception of reason creates problems, for it suggests that moral motivation is self-interested. However, Gauthier holds that to act morally is to act for the sake of morality and others, not oneself. An individual who so acts has what he calls an affective capacity for morality. He attempts to reconcile the tension between the self-interested account of moral behaviour and the affective capacity for morality by showing that the latter could develop from the former without violating the constraints of instrumental rationality. I argue, first, that his account is incomplete and assumes what it has to demonstrate; and, second, that this cannot be remedied with any plausibility. Finally, I argue that Gauthier covertly relies on a substantive claim about human good that is inconsistent with the instrumental conception of reason.
Keywords contractarianism  contractualism  Gauthier  instrumental rationality  moral motivation
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1023/A:1026237202869
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,453
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

23 ( #205,824 of 1,925,273 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #418,236 of 1,925,273 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.