Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (3):577-594 (2015)

Michael Moehler
Virginia Tech
In a recent article, McClennen (2012) defends an alternative bargaining theory in response to his criticisms of the standard Nash bargaining solution as a principle of distributive justice in the context of the social contract. McClennen rejects the orthodox concept of expected individual utility maximizing behavior that underlies the Nash bargaining model in favor of what he calls full rationality, and McClennen’s full cooperation bargaining theory demands that agents select the most egalitarian strictly Pareto-optimal distributional outcome that is strictly Pareto-superior to the state of nature. I argue that McClennen’s full cooperators are best described as reasonable agents whose rationality is constrained by moral considerations and that McClennen’s bargaining theory is moralized in this regard. If, by contrast, the orthodox concept of rationality is assumed and plausible assumptions are made about human nature and social cooperation, then a modified version of the standard Nash bargaining solution, which I call the stabilized Nash bargaining solution (Moehler 2010), is justified. From the perspective of rational agents, the stabilized Nash bargaining solution can accommodate McClennen’s criticisms of the standard Nash bargaining solution in the context of the social contract and, for such agents, it can serve as a principle of distributive justice in deeply morally pluralistic societies
Keywords Full rationality  Reasonableness  Equality  Instrumental rationality   Pareto-optimality   Nash bargaining solution
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-014-9541-9
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References found in this work BETA

Leviathan.Thomas Hobbes - 1651 - Harmondsworth, Penguin.
Justice as Fairness: A Restatement.John Rawls (ed.) - 2001 - Harvard University Press.
Morals by Agreement.David Gauthier - 1986 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Convention, correlation and consistency.Justin P. Bruner - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (5):1707-1718.
Orthodox Rational Choice Contractarianism: Before and After Gauthier.Michael Moehler - 2016 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 15 (2):113-131.

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