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  1. Contractarian Ethics and Harsanyi’s Two Justifications of Utilitarianism.Michael Moehler - 2013 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 12 (1):24-47.
    Harsanyi defends utilitarianism by means of an axiomatic proof and by what he calls the 'equiprobability model'. Both justifications of utilitarianism aim to show that utilitarian ethics can be derived from Bayesian rationality and some weak moral constraints on the reasoning of rational agents. I argue that, from the perspective of Bayesian agents, one of these constraints, the impersonality constraint, is not weak at all if its meaning is made precise, and that generally, it even contradicts individual rational agency. Without (...)
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  • The Scope of Instrumental Morality.Michael Moehler - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (2):431-451.
    In The Order of Public Reason (2011a), Gerald Gaus rejects the instrumental approach to morality as a viable account of social morality. Gaus' rejection of the instrumental approach to morality, and his own moral theory, raise important foundational questions concerning the adequate scope of instrumental morality. In this article, I address some of these questions and I argue that Gaus' rejection of the instrumental approach to morality stems primarily from a common but inadequate application of this approach. The scope of (...)
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  • Hobbes on Teleology and Reason.Guido Parietti - 2017 - European Journal of Philosophy 25 (4):1107-1131.
    Starting from considering how radical Hobbes' rejection of teleology was, this paper presents a coherent reading of Hobbesian reason, as applied to the justification of political obligation, striking a more perspicuous third way between the ‘orthodox’ and the ‘revisionist’ readings. Both families of interpretations are partial to some elements of Hobbes' thought, therefore incapable of providing a coherent reading of its whole. A precise rendering of Hobbes' deontological reason allows a better hermeneutical understanding of his philosophy as well as a (...)
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  • The Rawls–Harsanyi Dispute: A Moral Point of View.Michael Moehler - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (1):82-99.
    Central to the Rawls–Harsanyi dispute is the question of whether the core modeling device of Rawls' theory of justice, the original position, justifies Rawls' principles of justice, as Rawls suggests, or whether it justifies the average utility principle, as Harsanyi suggests. Many commentators agree with Harsanyi and consider this dispute to be primarily about the correct application of normative decision theory to Rawls' original position. I argue that, if adequately conceived, the Rawls–Harsanyi dispute is not primarily a dispute about the (...)
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  • Rational Cooperation and the Nash Bargaining Solution.Michael Moehler - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (3):577-594.
    In a recent article, McClennen (2012) defends an alternative bargaining theory in response to his criticisms of the standard Nash bargaining solution as a principle of distributive justice in the context of the social contract. McClennen rejects the orthodox concept of expected individual utility maximizing behavior that underlies the Nash bargaining model in favor of what he calls full rationality, and McClennen’s full cooperation bargaining theory demands that agents select the most egalitarian strictly Pareto-optimal distributional outcome that is strictly Pareto-superior (...)
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  • Orthodox Rational Choice Contractarianism: Before and After Gauthier.Michael Moehler - 2016 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 15 (2):113-131.
    In a recent article, Gauthier rejects orthodox rational choice contractarianism in favor of a revisionist approach to the social contract that, according to him, justifies his principle of maximin proportionate gain as a principle of distributive justice. I agree with Gauthier that his principle of maximin proportionate gain cannot be justified by orthodox rational choice contractarianism. I argue, however, that orthodox rational choice contractarianism, before and after Gauthier, is still a viable approach to the social contract, although the scope of (...)
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  • In Defense of a Democratic Productivist Welfare State.Michael Moehler - 2017 - European Journal of Philosophy 25 (2):416-439.
    In this article, I defend a democratic form of the productivist welfare state. I argue that this form of the state can best cope, theoretically and practically, with the diversity of deeply morally pluralistic democratic societies for two reasons. First, the justification of this form of the state rests solely on general facts about human nature, basic human needs, and efficiency considerations in a world of moderately scarce resources. Second, this state does not aim to promote a specific view of (...)
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