Analysis 79 (1):103-105 (2019)

Michael Moehler
Virginia Tech
In Minimal Morality, I develop a multilevel social contract theory that, in contrast to existing theories in the liberal tradition, does not merely assume a restricted form of reasonable moral pluralism, but is tailored to the conditions of deeply morally pluralistic societies that may include liberal moral agents, nonliberal moral agents, and, according to the traditional understanding of morality, nonmoral agents. The theory takes its main inspiration from the moral theories of Hobbes (1651), Hume (1739/1740), and Kant (1785, 1795, and 1797), and some of their contemporary followers, such as Rawls (1971) and Gauthier (1986). In its simplified form, the theory combines what I call traditional first-level morality with second-level pure instrumental morality and derives, in the form of the weak principle of universalization, a principle of conflict resolution that defines the minimal behavioral restrictions that are necessary to ensure, compared to violent conflict resolution, mutually beneficial peaceful long-term cooperation in deeply morally pluralistic societies. I argue that, despite its ideal nature, this theory is, in principle, applicable to the real world and, for the conditions described, most promising for securing mutually beneficial peaceful long-term cooperation in a world in which a fully just society, due to moral pluralism, is unattainable.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2019
DOI 10.1093/analys/any083
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,811
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Morals by Agreement.David Gauthier - 1986 - Oxford University Press.
A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume & A. D. Lindsay - 1958 - Philosophical Quarterly 8 (33):379-380.
Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1785 - In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Late Modern Philosophy: Essential Readings with Commentary. Blackwell.

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Diversity, Stability, and Social Contract Theory.Michael Moehler - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (12):3285-3301.
Can There Be a Social Contract with Business?Paul F. Hodapp - 1990 - Journal of Business Ethics 9 (2):127 - 131.
Bargaining and the Impartiality of the Social Contract.Johanna Thoma - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (12):3335-3355.
Psychological Contracts: A Nano-Level Perspective on Social Contract Theory.Jeffery A. Thompson & David W. Hart - 2005 - Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society 16:38-43.
The Theory of Contract Law: New Essays.Peter Benson (ed.) - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.
Social Contracts and Corporations: A Reply to Hodapp. [REVIEW]Thomas Donaldson - 1990 - Journal of Business Ethics 9 (2):133 - 137.
Comment on Munoz-Dardé's'liberty's Chains'.Niko Kolodny - 2009 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 83 (1):197-212.


Added to PP index

Total views
71 ( #155,137 of 2,463,158 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
12 ( #60,633 of 2,463,158 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes