Chapter

Contractarianism

Ian Malcolm David Little

in Ethics, Economics, and Politics

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780199257041
Published online August 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601293 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199257043.003.0007
 Contractarianism

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Contractarianism is more than a theory of the origin or legitimacy of states. Agreements required for productive cooperation, or merely for peaceful coexistence, are held to be the basis for morality, or a large part of it. Game theory is used to analyse the rationality of such agreements. Social conventions, which are not strictly agreements, also evolve over time in a community and acquire moral force. Although morality and society thus march together, individuals may always hold some social conventions to be immoral.

Keywords: agreement; Binmore; community; contract; convention; game theory; Gauthier; Scanlon; society; Sugden; veil of ignorance

Chapter.  3734 words. 

Subjects: Public Economics

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