A deliberative model of contractualism

Politics, Philosophy and Economics 7 (2):183-208 (2008)
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Despite an impressive philosophical pedigree, contractualism (or contractarianism) has only been properly developed in two ways: by appeal to the idea of an instrumentally rational bargain or contract between self-interested individuals (Hobbesian contractualism) and by appeal to the idea of a substantively reasonable agreement among individuals who regard one another as free and equal persons warranting equal moral respect (Kantian contractualism). Both of these existing models of contractualism are susceptible to apparently devastating objections. In this article, I outline a third, `deliberative' model of contractualism, which is based on the idea of a deliberatively rational agreement and which, I argue, represents a significant improvement on the Hobbesian and Kantian models in certain important respects. Key Words: contractualism • contractarianism • deliberation • deliberative rationality • Scanlon • Gauthier.



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Nicholas Southwood
Australian National University

Citations of this work

Moral contractualism.Nicholas Southwood - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (6):926-937.
Integrated Moral Agency and the Practical Phenomenon of Moral Diversity.Michael Moehler - 2021 - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 14 (2):53-77.

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References found in this work

Democratic Deliberation Within.Robert E. Goodin - 2000 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 29 (1):81-109.
Theistic Ethics and the Euthyphro Dilemma.Richard Joyce - 2002 - Journal of Religious Ethics 30 (1):49-75.
Can Contract Theory Ground Morality?Philip Pettit - 2006 - In James Lawrence Dreier (ed.), Contemporary Debates in Moral Theory. Blackwell. pp. 6--77.

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