Must Kantian Contractualism and Rule-consequentialism Converge?

Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics 4:34-52 (2014)
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Abstract

Derek Parfit’s On What Matters endorses Kantian Contractualism, the normative theory that everyone ought to follow the rules that everyone could rationally will that everyone accept. This paper explores Parfit’s argument that Kantian Contractualism converges with Rule Consequentialism. A pivotal concept in Parfit’s argument is the concept of impartiality, which he seems to equate agent-neutrality. This paper argues that equating impartiality and agent-neutrality is insufficient, since some agent-neutral considerations are silly and some are not impartial. Perhaps more importantly, there is little realistic prospect of Kantian Contractualism converging with Rule Consequentialism unless the same impartial reasons drive rule selection in the two theories.

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Brad Hooker
University of Reading

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