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In platos republic glaucon suggests that justice is

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Unformatted text preview: terest doesn’t solve a thing; this is not a 76 practical recommendation. practical Contractanianism Contractanianism The idea that political relations originate in contract or The agreement has been applied in several ways. In Plato’s Republic Glaucon suggests that justice is but a pact among rational egoists. Thomas Hobbes developed this idea to analyze the nature of political power. Given the predominantly selfnature centred nature of humankind, government is centred necessary for society. Government’s role is to stabilize social cooperation. social By exercising enforcement powers, government By provides each with the assurance that everyone else will abide by cooperative rules, thereby making it rational for all to cooperate. 77 Contractanianism Contractanianism To fulfill this stabilizing role, Hobbes argued that it is To rational for each individual to agree to authorize one person to exercise absolute political power. person Neo-Hobbesians eschew absolutism and apply the Neo-Hobbesians theory of rational choice to argue that rules of justice, perhaps even all morality, can be construed in terms of a rational bargain among self-interested individuals. of 78 Contractanianism Contractanianism John Locke, working from different premises than John Hobbes, appealed to a social compact to argue for a constitutional government with limited powers. All men are born with a natural right to equal freedom, and a natural duty to God to preserve themselves and the rest of mankind. the No government is just unless it could be commonly No agreed to form a position of equal freedom, where agreement is subject to the moral constraints of natural law. Absolutism is unjust according to this criterion. criterion. 79 Contractanianism Contractanianism Rousseau developed egalitarian features of Locke’s Rousseau view to contend for a democratic constitution. The Social Contract embodies the General Will of society, not the unconstrained private wills of its members. The General Will wills the common good, the good of society and all of its members. Only by bringing our individual wills into accord with the General Will can we achieve civic and moral freedom. freedom. In this century, John Rawls has recast natural rights In theories of the social contract to argue for a liberal egalitarian conception of justice. 80 Contractualism Contractualism Contractualism has its historical roots in the work of Contractualism Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant. Contractualists emphasize the fundamental equality of persons in rationally justifying our moral and political principles. Contemporary defenses of contractualism, most notably John Rawls A Theory of Justice and T.M. Theory Scanlons What We Owe to Each Other, have been What influential in offering contemporary Kantian frameworks that provide workable, systematic alternatives to consequentialism 81 Contractualism Contractualism Contractarianism takes moral principles to result from Contractarianism rationally self-interested bargaining, contractualism see the relevant agreement as governed by a moral ideal of equal respect. equal Kant maintains that anyone subject to the moral law must Kant be able to be regarded also as ‘giving the law’. only thus can the moral law be thought of as a common law for a community of free moral agents, subject only to laws they themselves legislate. themselves Moral principles of rights are not rules that individuals Moral would prescribe and attempt to gain acceptance for, from their different individual perspectives, bargaining out of self-interest. They are rather rules individuals would prescribe (and agree to) from a common perspective as one free and equal persons among others. one 82 Contractualism Contractualism John Rawl suggest that principles of justice are those it John would be rational to choose in an ‘original position’ behind a ‘veil of ignorance’ regarding any features that individuate different persons or their societies. In particular the choosing parties must be ignorant of their individual resources, abilities, talents, gender, race , socioeconomic position and their own interests or individual values. position A second contractualist approach can be motivated by second thinking about what it is to make a claim on someone as an equal (put yourself in my shoe). In developing such an approach T. M. Scanlon assumes a community whose members wish to be able to justify their conduct to each other by principles that others could not reasonably reject, insofar as they also have this aim (mutually accountable community of equals). community 83...
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