Contractualism and the Foundations of Morality

ISBN : 9780199664658

Nicholas Southwood
222 Pages
141 x 217 mm
Pub date
Nov 2013
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Contractualism has a venerable history and considerable appeal. Yet as an account of the foundations or ultimate grounds of morality it has been thought by many philosophers to be subject to fatal objections. In this book Nicholas Southwood argues otherwise. Beginning by detailing and diagnosing the shortcomings of the existing "Hobbesian" and "Kantian" models of contractualism, he then proposes a novel "deliberative" model, based on an interpersonal, deliberative conception of practical reason. He argues that the deliberative model of contractualism represents an attractive alternative to its more familiar rivals and that it has the resources to offer a more compelling account of morality's foundations, one that does justice to the twin demands of moral accuracy and explanatory adequacy.


1. Introduction
2. The Limits of Hobbesian Contractualism
3. The Limits of Kantian Contractualism
4. The Structure of Deliberative Contractualism
5. The Normativity of Deliberative Contractualism
6. Getting Morality Right
7. Grounding Morality

About the author: 

Dr Nicholas Southwood is a junior research fellow at Jesus College, Oxford and an assistant professor in the Philosophy Program at the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University. He works primarily in moral and political philosophy, with a particular focus on questions concerning practical reason and normativity, and has published widely in those areas.

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