Moral contractualism is a branch of normative ethics that holds that our moral obligations to each other are determined by the principles that we would agree to in certain hypothetical, idealised circumstances. This thesis takes an in-depth look at this approach, in particular an aspect of it denoted the âquestion of normativityâ. The question of normativity is concerned with how the conditions of the circumstances of the agreement come to constitute moral reasons for real world agents. It argues that existing contractualist approaches to the question of normativity fail to provide a satisfactory answer to the question of normativity, because the accounts of practical reason relied on to do so either fail to explain the binding of our moral requirements, or do so only at the expense of undermining contractualismâs ambitions to provide an account of moralityâs foundations. It then attempts to provide a positive solution to the question of the form of normativity in the form of an account of agency inspired by the thought of G. W. F. Hegel. The claim is that an approach to agency inspired by what I call the âHegelian Thoughtâ provides us with the tools for a plausible account of practical reason; one that makes sense of the interpersonal nature of this practical reason and is not hostage to a defeasible commitment to a substantive value.
|Date of Award||31 Dec 2019|
- The University of Manchester
|Supervisor||John O'Neill (Supervisor) & Thomas Smith (Supervisor)|
- Contractualism Hegel Ethics Normativity