Thomas Scanlon: Value, Desire, and Quality of Life

Sissela Bok

in The Quality of Life

Published in print March 1993 | ISBN: 9780198287971
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596704 | DOI:

Series: WIDER Studies in Development Economics

  Thomas Scanlon: Value, Desire, and Quality of Life

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Bok notes that Scanlon shifts the discussion from the ‘goods’ or things that make lives better to what makes these things good as he doubts the existence of any unified account of this metaethical inquiry. Bok, however, foresees communities which hold different and perhaps incompatible unified accounts and concludes that Scanlon's contractualist theory, mentioned towards the end of his paper, can help to resolve differences of opinion in such accounts, much like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which has shaped a network of partially coherent, partially weighted, partially agreed upon, and partially implemented values affecting the quality of human lives.

Keywords: contractualism; enforcement; judgment; metaethics; unified accounts; Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Chapter.  3291 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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