Contractarianism/Contractualism / Edition 1

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Contractualism/Contractarianism collects, for the first time, both major classical sources and central contemporary discussions of these important approaches to philosophical ethics. Edited and introduced by Stephen Darwall, these readings are essential for anyone interested in normative ethics.

  • With a helpful introduction by Stephen Darwall, examines key topics in the contractarian and contractualist moral theory.
  • Includes six contemporary essays which respond to the classic sources.
  • Includes an insightful discussion of contractualism by Gary Watson.
  • Includes classic excerpts by key figures such as Hobbes, Rousseau, and Kant, and recent reactions to this work by philosophers, including David Gauthier, Gilbert Harman, John Rawls, and T. M. Scanlon.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Contractarianism/Contractualism is an extremely valuable collection of seminal works by the major representatives of the social contract tradition. The excellent texts are well chosen; together they provide a first-rate introduction to this important area of moral and political thought.” Samuel Freeman, University of Pennsylvania

“One of the most interesting attempts to explain moral obligation traces it to a form of contract or agreement. Darwall's collection reprints classic attempts to offer this kind of explanation by Hobbes, Rousseau, and Kant, along with more recent versions. The volume not only brings out the power of this approach to morality, but also usefully distinguishes a number of important variations of contractarian and contractualist accounts.” Gilbert Harman, Princeton University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780631231103
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 12/2/2002
  • Series: Wiley Blackwell Readings in Philosophy Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.05 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Darwall is the John Dewey Collegiate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan. He has written widely on moral philosophy and its history, and is the author of Impartial Reason (1983), The British Moralists and the Internal 'Ought': 1640–1740 (1995), Philosophical Ethics (1998), and Welfare and Rational Care (2002). He is the editor, with Allan Gibbard and Peter Railton, of Moral Discourse and Practice (1997).

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Table of Contents



Part I: Classical Sources: Contactarianism:.

1. From Leviathan: Thomas Hobbes.

Part II: Classical Sources: Contractualism:.

2. From The Social Contract: Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

3. From Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals: Immanuel Kant.

Part III: Contemporary Expressions: Contractarianism:.

4. "Why Contractarianism?": David Gauthier.

5. From Morals by Agreement: David Gauthier.

6. "Convention": Gilbert Harman.

Part IV: Contemporary Expressions: Contractualism:.

7. From A Theory of Justice: John Rawls.

8. "Kantian Constructivism in Moral Theory": John Rawls.

9. "Contractualism and Utilitarianism": T. M. Scanlon.

Part V: Contemporary Discussion:.

10. "Some Considerations in Favor of Contractualism": Gary Watson.


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