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A/T Contracts

Reason we create contracts is for mutual benefits but sometimes dont know all the facts
so no rational person would will own destruction.
1st: Gauthier forms of bargaining doesn't function because prior bargins will get in the
way. Mendola1

Gauthier's principle requires that our pair bargain


[

relative concession on the part of both parties

] split the proceeds

(p. 153).

equally, which is an equal

But we might well imagine

the worse-off person claiming that an equal split is really a greater concession
on her part, since she needs the

cooperative

proceeds more. One's notion of the size of a

concession depends crucially on one's notion of what a reasonable


expectation is.

and

fair

If someone believed that in some God-given order of things the well off deserved more, he or she might well think that the well-off person made a greater concession in agreeing to an equal distribution.

Different groups of people have had many different conceptions of what constitutes a just or fair expectation.

So if rational agents will agree only to

what they believe to be equal relative concessions, different groups of such


agents will make different agreements depending on what their conception of
a fair and reasonable expectation

, and hence a relatively equal concession, is.

2nd: Contractarinism isn't itself rational, as it doesn't give us the means to compell freeriders to act ethically. Consequently, a binding set of principles which does NOT require
agreement does a better job "establishing the rationality of actual compliance" as it
facilitates the operations of large-scale social bodies.

3rd: This is circular. In order for it to be true, we have to acknowledge that agreement
itself can have some sort of moral force, but according to Gauthier things can only have
moral force if we agree that they do. Thus the argument says agreement is valuable
because we agree to it, which presupposes itself.

1 Gauthier's Morals by Agreement and Two Kinds of Rationality Author(s): Joseph Mendola Source: Ethics, Vol. 97, No. 4 (Jul., 1987), pp. 765-774

4th: The ethic espoused has no binding normative force. If nothing can constrain
agreements but agreement itself, there is no reason for someone to abandon an agreement
as soon as it seems unappealing. This means it is not moral since morality requires a right
wrong distinction.
5th: Gauthiers philosophy assumes a background for natural rights, but these rights
contradict the will of the rational agents, thus rational agents wouldnt bargain in this
way. Danielson2
The deep disagreement between Rawls and Nozick reminds us of the tension between contractarian and natural rights theories.

why should they be constrained by

If agents are to decide on moral constraints,

natural - that is, at least

pre-contractual - rights? This suggests the

difficulty that confronts Gauthier's [philosophy]

innovative attempt to combine these two approaches.

social contract on a set of pre-contractual constraints

He builds his

which prohibit coercion and permit appropriation of property.

[However]

Why should rational contractors admit such constraints not of their choosing?
Moreover,

unlike Nozick's,

Gauthier's pre-contractual rights are not natural in a second sense.

They have no independent moral appeal for rational agents; they are defended
merely as necessary pre-conditions for the social contract. This makes it more
difficult to protect them from the contractors' wills.
include the proviso. We shall show that only a subset of the pre-contractual rights would attract some of the contractors;

for agreement.

We shall argue in this section that Gauthier fails to defend a bundle of pre-contractual rights that

therefore Gauthier's proviso is not necessary

Our purpose is not to defend an alternative solution to the Contract Problem but to suggest that it has no unique rational solution.

6th: Gauthiers ethics beg the question of morality. Danielson3


His specification of the agents' endowment can be seen as a rejoinder to our primary objection to his historical argument. The rejoinder notes that although rational agents may not care about the path to agreement, they do care about agreement, and therefore about any

necessary prerequisites thereto.

One of these prerequisites in [Gauthiers]


,

any contractarian

theory, is that agents be

defined sufficiently to reach a determinate and stable agreement. However there is a


limit to the

justificatory

weight

transcendental

arguments will bear.

We must remember that

the existence of a

determinate agreement is precisely what is at issue. We cannot assume that there is


a contractarian solution without begging the question.

A fortiori, we cannot assume that there is a bargaining solution based on an initial position that

also enables market interaction. For example, Gauthier writes, 'the application of [minimax relative concession], or more generally, the emergence of either co-operative or market interaction, demands an initial definition of the actors in terms of their factor endowments'

Peter Danielson [Mary & Maurice Young Professor of Applied Ethics] The Visible
Hand of Morality Canadian Journal of Philosophy , Vol. 18, No. 2 (Jun., 1988), pp.
357-384
3 Peter Danielson [Mary & Maurice Young Professor of Applied Ethics] The Visible
Hand of Morality Canadian Journal of Philosophy , Vol. 18, No. 2 (Jun., 1988), pp.
357-384
2

(222). But while this is true of the way

co-operate

Gauthier

generally.

applies his principle (after market in-teraction), he

has not shown it to be the case for agreeing to

To assume that contracting agents must follow Gauthier's procedure

would beg the question.


7th: Gauthier arbitrarily limits practical reason and the only way for rationality to be
applicable as a metaethic is if it is universal since logic must apply to all situations or it
would therefore lack reason.

8th: The only way to understand moral concepts are by looking at its form which can be
described by an actions will and end achievements but the problem with Gauthier is that
it doesnt care about the intentions or why we act in self interest. Mercer4 argues
To begin:

To understand what another has done is to have a


both

particular sort of

true description of the

action he has performed one that reveals it to be intentional, and to know the agent's
,

practical reason for performing that action.


understanding his motivation in doing it.
motivation, unless she is cognizant of its force as a motivation.

It is not enough,

that is to say,

In turn, to know an agent's reason for performing some particular action involves

An interpreter cannot, though, really understand an agent's motivation in performing an action unless she sees that motivation as a

to understand what a person who

intentionally sips from a saucer of mud has done to note merely that he had the
desire to sip from a saucer of mud,

and believed himself both possessed of a saucer of mud and able to sip from it.

An interpreter has also

to comprehend what in desiring to sip from a saucer of mud was attractive to him.
usually, of course, there is no problem in our comprehending what it is in the desires had by people around us that attracts them as desirable.

Now

The people around us are more or less

like us in many if not most of their desires, wants and wishes

, and few of them desire to sip from a saucer of mud,

so in

our day to day life we do not often have cause to turn our attention explicitly to the
question from whence arrives the motivational force of their desires Still, it is not
.

exceedingly uncommon for us

, even for those of us who are not psychologists, sociologists, or anthropologists,

of what we take to be behaviour.

How are we to make sense of some such piece of strange behaviour?

to be stumped by some piece

One way is to connect that

piece of behaviour to one or more of the strange agent's self-regarding ends. If we


can see in sipping from a saucer of mud a way of maintaining self-respect, or even a
way to delight in the taste of mud, we can understand the desire the agent had to sip
from a saucer of mud.
4

We need not connect his self-regarding end to an intention to realize that end in or through his action;

we need only,

I think,

connect it to

In Defence of Weak Psychological Egoism.: Mark Mercer. Erkenntnis (1975-), Vol. 55, No. 2 (2001), pp. 217-23

an expectation of realizing it.

But is this the only way we can make sense of desires we ourselves do not share and cannot, at first at least, imagine sharing? I think that it is.

Without

our perceiving a connection to an intention or an expectation of realizing some selfregarding end, we cannot see in any consideration we attribute to an agent a
motivation to act. The motivating force of the consideration that spurred action will
remain beyond our ken, the action stemming from it unfathomable and inexplicable.
9th: Gauthiers argument is self defeating since it requires reciprocal relations but that
cannot be justified. Sinnot-Armstrong5
According to Gauthier,

a moral practice is justifiable if it is capable of gaining unanimous agreement among rational people who were choosing the terms on which they would interact with each other

Nonetheless, it is hard to see how Gauthier could show that his moral theory is complete. Why cant

there [cant] be moral constraints without


any

reciprocity [b]ecause not all rational people would accept them. But why cant
?B

then

there be any moral constraints that not all rational people accept?
could not command the willing allegiance of a rational person if, without appealing to her feelings for others, it afforded her no expectation of net benefit (1986, 11; cf. 238).

Gauthier responds, The contractarian insists that a society

The point cannot be that

society [would be] unable to command such allegiance. Commands can be issued.
is

Gauthier is saying that society could not successfully command such allegiance, since otherwise compliance would not be stable (1991, 29), but this is mere wishful thinking, since

Maybe

stable societies have often

been based on force, not reason. So Gauthier seems to say that it is not fair to
be

ing

constrain rational people without benefit to them. This assumption is a


claim

of the very kind

that Gauthier was supposed to avoid.

substantive

moral

So it is hard to see how Gauthier could justify his claim to completeness without violating his own methodological

limits.

10th Contractarianism relies on flawed assumptions about human nature. Vallentyne: 6


Gauthier assumes, however, that the parties

are mutually unconcerned (

take no interest in each others

interests) (pp. 10-11, 102- 103). Note that there are two different places that assumptions about peoples preferences (desires, utility functions) may enter in contractarian
theory. One place is in the specification of the features of the people whom the agreed upon norms are to regulate. More specifically, it concerns assumptions relevant for
determining the outcome ofpeople whom the agreed upon norms are to regulate. More specifically, it concerns assumptions relevant for determining the outcome of adopting a
given set of norms.

What will happen if a

will act if

it is

given

set of norms is adopted depends on how people

adopted, and that depends

assumptions about peoples preferences

in part

on

must be used

what their preferences are. Clearly, for these purposes

realistic

. Given that people have at least

limited sympathy for others, it would be inappropriate to assess norms on

5
6

the basis of

Moral Skepticisms, Walter Sinnot-Armstrong, Oxford University Press, 2007.

Contractarianism and the Assumption of Mutual Unconcern Author(s): Peter Vallentyne Source: Philosophical Studies: An
International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition, Vol. 56, No. 2 (Jun., 1989), pp. 187-192 Published by: Springer Stable
URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4320042.

what their outcome would be if people had no sympathy for others.

Rationality requires that one use

realistic assumptions.

11th People violate contracts all the time so it doesnt solves back the problem of human
nature.

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