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Act Contractualism

Bourguignon, Lea; (2021) Act Contractualism. Masters thesis (M.Phil.Stud), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Consider three moral views that have received significant attention in the philosophical literature: Act Consequentialism: an act is permissible if and only if its performance makes things go best (that is, if and only if it brings about the best state of affairs). Rule Consequentialism: an act is permissible if and only if it conforms to the best set of rules, where the best set of rules is the set such that things would go better if everyone complied with this set (or accepted this set) than if everyone complied with any alternative set (or accepted any alternative set). Rule Contractualism: an act is permissible if and only if it is allowed by a set of rules the universal acceptance of which is appropriately justifiable to everyone. The first two of these views are well-known. The third is a plausible reading of the theory defended by Tim Scanlon. All three are plausible and have enjoyed a great deal of discussion in the literature. Much of this discussion has in part aimed at pushing or addressing various challenges in order to weigh these ethical views against each other. There is another view, however, which is Act Contractualism: an act is permissible if and only if it is appropriately justifiable to everyone. The aim of my project is to carve out a conceptual space for this ethical view, which has so far received almost no explicit attention in the literature. I explain more fully the motivation for considering Act Contractualism by looking at the problems faced by the three other theories – Act Consequentialism, Rule Consequentialism and Rule Contractualism. I then assess the plausibility of Act Contractualism and consider its merits in comparison to Rule Contractualism and Act Consequentialism.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Qualification: M.Phil.Stud
Title: Act Contractualism
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10137621
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