A Critique of Scanlon’s Contractualism

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Scanlon, Contractualism, Friendship, Normative, ethics


Part of T. M. Scanlon’s project in What We Owe to Each Other (1998) is to explain the importance and priority of moral reasons. But Scanlon also argues that this priority of moral reasons is compatible with the pursuit of other things we value, such as friendship. To this end, Scanlon claims that contractualist moral reasons internally accommodate our interests in such values. In this paper, I argue that Scanlon is unsuccessful in showing the compatibility of morality and the pursuit of our other values. The contractualist may not be able to be a good friend.


This article was published with support from the Open Access Publishing Fund administered through the University of Arkansas Libraries.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.