Ethics 113 (2):273-302 (2003)

Elizabeth Ashford
University of St. Andrews
One of the reasons why Kantian contractualism has been seen as an appealing alternative to utilitarianism is that it seems to be able to avoid utilitarianism's extreme demandingness, while retaining a fully impartial moral point of view. I argue that in the current state of the world, contractualist obligations to help those in need are not significantly less demanding than utilitarian obligations. I also argue that while a plausible version of utilitarianism would be considerably less demanding if the state of the world were different, a central aspect of contractualism means that it would remain exceedingly demanding in any practically realizable state of the world
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DOI 10.1086/342853
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