Is morality rational? In this book Gauthier argues that moral principles are principles of rational choice. He proposes a principle whereby choice is made on an agreed basis of cooperation, rather than according to what would give an individual the greatest expectation of value. He shows that such a principle not only ensures mutual benefit and fairness, thus satisfying the standards of morality, but also that each person may actually expect greater utility by adhering to morality, even though the choice (...) did not have that end primarily in view. In resolving what may appear to be a paradox, the author establishes morals on the firm foundation of reason. Gauthier's argument includes an account of value, linking it to preference and utility; a discussion of the curcumstances in which morality is unnecessary; and an application of morals by agreement to relations between peoples at different levels of development and different generations. Finally, he reflects on the assumptions about individuality and community made by his account of rationality and morality. (shrink)
Here a group of philosophers, economists and political theorists discuss the work of David Gauthier, which seeks to show that rational individuals would accept certain moral constraints on their choices. The possibilities and limitations of a contractarian approach to issues of justice is analyzed.
Rousseau is often portrayed as an educational and social reformer whose aim was to increase individual freedom. In this volume David Gauthier examines Rousseau's evolving notion of freedom, where he focuses on a single quest: can freedom and the independent self be regained? Rousseau's first answer is given in Emile, where he seeks to create a self-sufficient individual, neither materially nor psychologically enslaved to others. His second is in the Social Contract, where he seeks to create a citizen who identifies (...) totally with his community, experiencing his dependence on it only as a dependence on himself. Rousseau implicitly recognized the failure of these solutions. His third answer is one of the main themes of the Confessions and Reveries, where he is made for a love that merges the selves of the lovers into a single, psychologically sufficient unity that makes each 'better than free'. But is this response a chimaera? (shrink)
Hobbes on Demonstration and Construction DAVID GAUTHIER 1~ IN 1656 Hobbes published Six Lessons to the Professors of Mathematics, with an Epistle Dedicatory to the Marquis of Dorchester, Lord Pierrepont. In this Epistle, Hobbes distinguishes the demonstrable from the indemonstrable arts: "demonstrable are those the construction of the subject whereof is in the power of the artist himself, who, in his demonstration, does no more but deduce the consequences of his own operation" . Although this passage, with the explication Hobbes (...) offers for it and the consequences he draws from it, and a similar discussion in De homine, published two years later, have not been unnoticed, their significance for Hobbes's account of science in general, and civil philosophy or politics in particular, has not, I think, been I am grateful to the University of East Anglia for appointing me a Visiting Research Fellow during the period in which the first draft of this paper was written. A second draft was presented at the Third Quadrennial International Fellows Conference of the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh, sponsored by the Florence Center for the History and Philosophy of Science. I am grateful for the remarks of my commentator, J. E. McGuire, and for the discussion. I am also grateful for the comments of the two referees who read this paper for the Journal of the History of Philosophy. References to Hobbes's works appear as.. (shrink)
Reason, egoism, and utilitarianism, by H. Sidgwick.--Is egoism reasonable? By G. E. Moore.--Ultimate principles and ethical egoism, by B. Medlin.--In defense of egoism, by J. Kalin.--Virtuous affections and self-love, by F. Hutcheson.--Our obligation to virtue, by D. Hume.--Duty and interest, by H. A. Prichard.--The natural condition of mankind and the laws of nature, by T. Hobbes.--Why should we be moral? By K. Baier.--Morality and advantage, by D. P. Gauthier.--Bibliographical essay (p. 181-184).
This book presents a selection of David Gauthier's writings on Thomas Hobbes and the theory of political contractarianism. The essays cover topics including Hobbes on law, social contract theory, and public reason.
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Notes and Discussions THE UNITY OF WISDOM AND TEMPERANCE The attempt of Socrates to establish the unity of the virtues has long been an object of philosophic suspicion. Particular attention has been directed to the argument at Protagoras 332a-333b, in which Socrates seeks to demonstrate the unity of wisdom and temperance, by showing that they must be identified as the contrary of folly. The argument proceeds on the assumption (...) that wisdom and temperance are distinct, and so terminates in a contradiction between 'Whatever admits of a contrary admits of one only' and 'Folly, which is one thing, has two contraries, wisdom and temperance.' Scholars have generally rejected Socrates' proof of the second of the contradictory propositions. However, in a recent paper, Professor David Savan has claimed that the contradiction is derived in a formally valid way from premisses which either need no argument or are accepted by Protagoras} My intent in this paper is to cast doubt on this claim, and so to restore the status quo. According to the critics, the weak point in the argument is Socrates' defence of the statement 'Foolish acts and temperate acts are contraries.' But Saran holds that this statement follows from three conditionals, all stated by Socrates and accepted by Protagoras. These conditionals, referred to by Savan as F G and H, will here be termed P1-3. P1 If an act is right and advantageous, then it is temperate. Symbolically: (r.a) D t P2 If an act is wrong, then it is foolish. w~f P3 If an act is foolish, then it is not temperate. fD -t From these, Saran argues, "it follows that 'An act is right' and 'An act is temperate ' are truth functionallyequivalent, as are 'An act is wrong' and 'An act is foolish'.... Since right and wrong are either contraries or contradictories, temperate and foolish acts must also be either contraries or contradictories" (p. 24). Savan then argues that Protagoras, on the basis of his remarks earlier in the dialogue, must take right and wrong to be contradictories, so that temperate and foolish actions are also contradictories, rather than contraries. I want first to consider whether the material equivalences alleged to follow from P1-3 do in fact follow. They may be symbolized: Clr~t C2w =f It is immediately clear that neither C1 nor C2 follows from P1-3. But this is not surprising, because some expression of the relation between 'right' and 'wrong' 1D. Saran, "Socrates'Logic and the Unity of Wisdom and Temperance," in R. J. Butler (ed.), AnalyticalPhilosophy,2nd series(Oxford: BasilBlackwell,1965),pp. 20-26.  158 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY must appear among the premises. Since Savan raises the question whether 'right' and 'wrong' are contraries or contradictories only after he claims to establish C1 and C2, we may suppose that the argument should hold whichever relation we assume. If 'right' and 'wrong' are contraries we add the premise: P4A r D --w And ifthey are contradictorieswe add the stronger premise: P4B r -- --w But neither C1 nor C2 follows from PI-3 together with either P4A or P4B. However, it may be urged, the argument fails only because 'advantageous' has been treated as an independent term. P1 should be replaced by: PI* r ~ t We now find that PI*-3 and P4B are sufficientto derive C1 and C2. But PI*-3 and P4A do not suffice.The most we can establish, using only P4A, is the disjunction : C1 vC2r -- t-v-w -- f And this is useless for the purposes of Socrates' argument. One further way of strengthening the premises might be suggested. Instead of dropping 'advantageous' from the argument, one might take it as related both to 'right' and to 'foolish.' That is, one might introduce additional premises from the pairs: P5A r ~ a P5B r - a and: P6A a D -f P6B a ---- -f P5A, added to P1-3 and P4B, will suffice for the derivation of C1 and C2. But no combination of premises not including P4B will do; from P1-3, P4A, P5B and P6B, one can derive C1 but not C2. It is, therefore, necessary to modify Savan's claim in two fairly important... (shrink)
This paper examines the interpretation of Hobbes as a political formalist which is developed by F. S. McNeilly in The Anatomy of Leviathan. McNeilly argues that Hobbes's demonstration of the necessity of political society is independent of Hobbes's particular view of man as an egotist bent at all costs on his own preservation. The first part of the argument of the paper uses techniques of decision theory and game theory to show that this argument which McNeilly ascribes to Hobbes is (...) not valid. However, the argument which Hobbes is traditionally supposed to put forward is shown to be valid. The second part of the paper examines McNeilly's interpretation of the text of Leviathan and shows that he has insufficient grounds for supposing that Hobbes attempted to construct a purely formal science of politics. (shrink)