M.E. Sharpe, 26/03/1999
This short and accessible introductory text discusses how people in a pluralistic society such as ours can accept a common social ethic--a publicly justified morality. It presents clear analyses of the basic concepts, including justifications of liberty, harm to others, private property rights, distributive justice, environmental harms, help to others and offensive behavior. Gaus acquaints the reader with the major figures in social philosophy--John Stuart Mill, Jeremy Bentham, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, David Hume, John Rawls, David Gauthier, and Joel Feinberg--as well as recent communitarian philosophers. The basic technical aspects of social philosophy are also introduced: game theory, social choice theory, the ideas rational action, rational bargaining, and public goods. Throughout, helpful short examples and stories are used to illustrate the material.
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Moral Authoritarianism and Relativism
12 The Suspicion That Morality Is Authoritarian
The Easy Way Out?
14 Public Morality and Cooperation
22 Actual Assent Views of Public Justification
23 Justification Among Purely Rational People
62 Two Key Criticisms of Rawlss Contractual Theory
63 Liberal Contractualism
A Framework for Public Morality
72 Mills Case for Liberty of Action
24 Public Justification and Reasonableness
25 Consensus and Convergence Justifications
Valuepromoting Public Moralities
32 Competing Values and Public Justification
Wide Consensus on Basic Goods
Utilitarianism as a Public Morality
42 Jeremy Bentham and Utilitarianism
43 Wantsatisfaction Utilitarianism
44 The Problems of Interpersonal Comparisons and Aggregating Preferences
45 Is Value Impersonal?
46 Nonteleological Utilitarianism
47 Utilitarianism as a Public Philosophy
52 Simple NeoHobbesianism
53 Gauthiers Reformulation of Hobbesian Moral Contractualism
54 Is Strong Contractualism Really About Social Morality?
The Harm Principle
82 Psychological Harms
83 Is It Always a Harm to Set Back an Interest?
84 Risk of Harm
85 Harmful Acts and Omissions
92 Lockean Theory and the Proviso
Compensation for Losses
94 Desert Distributive Justice and Property
Public Harms and Common Goods
102 The Public Goods Principle
103 Common Goods
Two QuasiMillian Principles
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