Journal of Value Inquiry:1-18 (forthcoming)

Authors
Ken Oshitani
Waseda University
Abstract
Moral contractualism holds that addressing our minds to the morality of right and wrong involves identifying principles for the mutual regulation of behavior that could be the object of reasonable agreement among persons if they were appropriately motivated and fully informed. A common criticism of the theory is that the test of reasonable agreement it endorses is indeterminate. To be more specific, it is claimed that the notion of reasonableness is too vague or ill-defined to be of use in guiding our decisions in situations where it is necessary to balance the complaints of different people against each other, so that we may derive an all things considered conclusion regarding what we ought, morally, to do. In this article, I propose a novel interpretation of the contractualist method of reasoning that overcomes the indeterminacy objection, building on a broadly Aristotelian conception of practical deliberation about ends. I demonstrate that this criticism is based on a misunderstanding of the nature of contractualist moral reasoning. The key is to recognize that deliberation about what others could not reasonably reject is not a matter of applying a fixed criterion of reasonableness in order to arbitrate conflicts between the interests of different individuals, as it is commonly assumed. Rather, it is a process in which the ideal of justifiability to others and people’s moral claims are specified together through holistic deliberation. The goal of this process is to construct a coherent conception of both our particular moral claims and the general aim of reasonable agreement that is reasonably acceptable to each person. On this view, contrary to what critics assert, the contractualist method of reasoning, properly understood, will almost always have a determinate answer.
Keywords contractualism  T.M. Scanlon  moral deliberation  specification
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10790-021-09873-3
Options
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: 65,740
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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Contractualism.Jussi Suikkanen - 2020 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
A Deliberative Model of Contractualism.Nicholas Southwood - 2008 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 7 (2):183-208.
Of Metaethics and Motivation: The Appeal of Contractualism.Pamela Hieronymi - 2011 - In R. Jay Wallace, Rahul Kumar & Samuel Richard Freeman (eds.), Reasons and Recognition: Essays on the Philosophy of T. M. Scanlon. Oxford University Press.
Contractualism, Moral Motivation, and Practical Reason.Samuel Freeman - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (6):281-303.
Contractualism and the Significance of Perspective-Taking.Peter Timmerman - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (5):909-925.
Moral Contractualism.Nicholas Southwood - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (6):926-937.
Contractualism, Reciprocity, Compensation.David Alm - 2007 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 2 (3):1-23.
Act and Principle Contractualism.Hanoch Sheinman - 2011 - Utilitas 23 (3):288-315.
Contractualism and Punishment.Hon-Lam Li - 2015 - Criminal Justice Ethics 34 (2):177-209.
Reasons for Moral Conduct: Groundwork of Scanlon's Contractualism.Zbigniew Jan Marczuk - 2010 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 17 (1):66-77.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2021-10-15

Total views
18 ( #594,862 of 2,462,871 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
18 ( #43,613 of 2,462,871 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes