Ethics 107 (4):612-643 (1997)

Joseph Mintoff
Australian National University (PhD)
In their attempt to provide a reason to be moral, contractarians such as David Gauthier are concerned with situations allowing a group of agents the chance of mutual benefit, so long as at least some of them are prepared to constrain their maximising behaviour. But what justifies this constraint? Gauthier argues that it could be rational (because maximising) to intend to constrain one's behaviour, and in certain circumstances to act on this intention. The purpose of this paper is to examine the conditions under which it is rational to form, and to act on, intentions. I introduce and examine in detail what Gauthier has to say on these issues, argue that it suffers from various problems, and propose an alternative account which I claim avoids them.
Keywords Gauthier  Contractarianism  Intentions  Prisoner's Dilemma  Paradox of Deterrence  Toxin Puzzle  Deliberation  Reconsideration
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DOI 10.1086/233762
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Orthodox Rational Choice Contractarianism: Before and After Gauthier.Michael Moehler - 2016 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 15 (2):113-131.
Idealist Origins: 1920s and Before.Martin Davies & Stein Helgeby - 2014 - In Graham Oppy & Nick Trakakis (eds.), History of Philosophy in Australia and New Zealand. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer. pp. 15-54.
Desiring at Will and Humeanism in Practical Reason.Yonatan Shemmer - 2004 - Philosophical Studies 119 (3):265-294.

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