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  1. Self-Organizing Moral Systems: Beyond Social Contract Theory.Gerald Gaus - 2018 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 17 (2):119-147.
    This essay examines two different modes of reasoning about justice: an individual mode in which each individual judges what we all ought to do and a social mode in which we seek to reconcile our judgments of justice so that we can share common rules of justice. Social contract theory has traditionally emphasized the second, reconciliation mode, devising a central plan to do so. However, I argue that because we disagree not only in our judgments of justice but also about (...)
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  • Stability Challenges for Moehler's Second‐Level Social Contract.Peter Vanderschraaf - 2020 - Analytic Philosophy 61 (1):70-86.
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  • On Minimal Morality.John Thrasher - 2020 - Analytic Philosophy 61 (1):46-56.
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  • Bargaining and the Impartiality of the Social Contract.Johanna Thoma - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (12):3335-3355.
    The question of what a group of rational agents would agree on were they to deliberate on how to organise society is central to all hypothetical social contract theories. If morality is to be based on a social contract, we need to know the terms of this contract. One type of social contract theory, contractarianism, aims to derive morality from rationality alone. Contractarians need to show, amongst other things, that rational and self-interested individuals would agree on an impartial division of (...)
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  • Experimental philosophy and the fruitfulness of normative concepts.Matthew Lindauer - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (8):2129-2152.
    This paper provides a new argument for the relevance of empirical research to moral and political philosophy and a novel defense of the positive program in experimental philosophy. The argument centers on the idea that normative concepts used in moral and political philosophy can be evaluated in terms of their fruitfulness in solving practical problems. Empirical research conducted with an eye to the practical problems that are relevant to particular concepts can provide evidence of their fruitfulness along a number of (...)
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  • The Varieties of Impartiality, or, Would an Egalitarian Endorse the Veil?Justin P. Bruner & Matthew Lindauer - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (2):459-477.
    Social contract theorists often take the ideal contract to be the agreement or bargain individuals would make in some privileged choice situation. Recently, experimental philosophers have explored this kind of decision-making in the lab. One rather robust finding is that the exact circumstances of choice significantly affect the kinds of social arrangements experimental subjects unanimously endorse. Yet prior work has largely ignored the question of which of the many competing descriptions of the original position subjects find most compelling. This paper (...)
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  • Bargaining and the Dynamics of Divisional Norms.Justin P. Bruner - 2020 - Synthese 197 (1):407-425.
    Recently, philosophers have investigated the emergence and evolution of the social contract. Yet extant work is limited as it focuses on the use of simple behavioral norms in rather rigid strategic settings. Drawing on axiomatic bargaining theory, we explore the dynamics of more sophisticated norms capable of guiding behavior in a wide range of scenarios. Overall, our investigation suggests the utilitarian bargaining solution has a privileged status as it has certain stability properties other social arrangements lack.
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  • Orthodox Rational Choice Contractarianism: Before and After Gauthier.Michael Moehler - 2016 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 15 (2):113-131.
    In a recent article, Gauthier rejects orthodox rational choice contractarianism in favor of a revisionist approach to the social contract that, according to him, justifies his principle of maximin proportionate gain as a principle of distributive justice. I agree with Gauthier that his principle of maximin proportionate gain cannot be justified by orthodox rational choice contractarianism. I argue, however, that orthodox rational choice contractarianism, before and after Gauthier, is still a viable approach to the social contract, although the scope of (...)
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  • Morals From Rationality Alone? Some Doubts.J. P. Messina & David Wiens - 2020 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 19 (3):248-273.
    Contractarians aim to derive moral principles from the dictates of instrumental rationality alone. But it is well-known that contractarian moral theories struggle to identify normative principles that are both uniquely rational and morally compelling. Michael Moehler's recent book, *Minimal Morality* seeks to avoid these difficulties by developing a novel "two-level" social contract theory, which restricts the scope of contractarian morality to cases of deep and persistent moral disagreement. Yet Moehler remains ambitious, arguing that a restricted version of Kant's categorical imperative (...)
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  • Global Public Reason, Diversity, and Consent.Samuel Director - 2019 - Philosophical Papers 48 (1):31-57.
    In this paper, I examine global public reason as a method of justifying a global state. Ultimately, I conclude that global public reason fails to justify a global state. This is the case, because global public reason faces an unwinnable dilemma. The global public reason theorist must endorse either a hypothetical theory of consent or an actual theory of consent; if she endorses a theory of hypothetical consent, then she fails to justify her principles; and if she endorses a theory (...)
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  • Contemporary Approaches to the Social Contract.Fred D'Agostino, John Thrasher & Gerald Gaus - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.