The Archimedean Point

David Gauthier

in Morals by Agreement

Published in print May 1987 | ISBN: 9780198249924
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597497 | DOI:
The Archimedean Point

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The Archimedean point is one from which a rational individual may exert the force needed to govern the moral realm, and hence one in which she must choose and act aware that she is a person with preferences but unaware of the content of those preferences, and so impartially. We contrast this person, the ideal actor, with other idealizing conceptions in moral theory, the noumenal self, the ideal observer, the ideal sympathizer, and the ideal proprietor. We then characterize choice from the Archimedean point, rejecting the views of John Harsanyi and John Rawls, and arguing instead that the ideal actor would choose the proviso, the market in conditions of perfect competition, and the principle of minimax relative concession. Thus, analysis from the Archimedean point confirms the conclusions about rational choice reached in previous chapters.

Keywords: Archimedean point; ideal actor; free market; minimax relative concession; proviso; rational choice

Chapter.  14533 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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