Recovering the Social Contract
The author defends a novel philosophical thesis about the nature and foundation of moral rights. The thesis maintains that rights-claims derive their credibility from a distinctive idea of equality according to which persons are not just equally valuable but equally invaluable. The egalitarian ideal derives its normative content from widely acknowledged norms of competence that are distinguishable from and conceptually prior to the norms of rationality and morality that have exercised contemporary theorists of rational choice and justice. When its nature and foundation are appreciated, rights-based justice can be seen to be more powerful and, in an important sense, less ideological than alternative conceptions. In defending this view, the author considers how ideology corrupts thinking about justice and maintains that contemporary theorists are ideological in a sense that disqualifies them from setting credible normative standards.
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agreement assumptions basic institutions behavior believe C-goods C-interests capitalist choice choose civil claims classical contractarian commitments competent conception of justice conception of personality conflict constitutive interest contemporary contractarian contractarian argument contractarian theory credible David Gauthier deny desire egalitarian empirical ethical higher-order Hobbes Hobbesian human Ibid idea ideological individuals insist institutional alternatives interaction John Rawls judgements Kant Leviathan libertarian libertarian capitalism Locke Locke's Marx maximize ment moral persons moralistic natural law naturalistic interpretation nature of persons negative liberty normative Nozick object one's overriding people's perfectionist philosophy plausible political practical preferences principles of justice proponents of rights-based rational agency Rawls Rawls's reason reference group religious right to liberty rights-based equality rights-based theory rights-talk Robert Nozick Ronald Dworkin Rousseau sense of justice situation social contract social cooperation theory of justice theory of rational thin theory things Thomas Hobbes Thomas Nagel tion tractarian utilitarian virtue