Contractualism has a venerable history and considerable appeal. Yet as an account of the foundations or ultimate grounds of morality it has been thought by many philosophers to be subject to fatal objections. In this book Nicholas Southwood argues otherwise. Beginning by detailing and diagnosing the shortcomings of the existing "Hobbesian" and "Kantian" models of contractualism, he then proposes a novel "deliberative" model, based on an interpersonal, deliberative conception of practical reason. He argues that the deliberative model of contractualism represents an attractive alternative to its more familiar rivals and that it has the resources to offer a more compelling account of morality's foundations, one that does justice to the twin demands of moral accuracy and explanatory adequacy.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Weight: 408 g
Dimensions: 224 x 154 x 18 mm
This book is well worth reading. ... For those at all sympathetic to [the contractualist] tradition, this is a clear and worthwhile addition to the literature
contains many interesting and compelling arguments that deserve careful consideration. ... I recommend this book to all who are serious about contractualism and about what it means to provide an explanation for morality.
I believe [Southwood's arguments] are important and advance the dialogue between contractualists and their critics. In particular, I think attractive Southwood's attempt to ground moral normativity in deliberative normativity, the latter of which seems to have enough independent normative content to avoid explanatory circularity. In the end, Southwood concludes 'I hope that ... I have shown at least that deliberative contractualism is an account of morality's foundations that deserves to be given serious consideration.' Before raising criticisms, let me say that I think he has accomplished this task.