What Is Conventionalism about Moral Rights and Duties?

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (1):15-28 (2019)
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A powerful objection against moral conventionalism says that it gives the wrong reasons for individual rights and duties. The reason why I must not break my promise to you, for example, should lie in the damage to you—rather than to the practice of promising or to all other participants in that practice. Common targets of this objection include the theories of Hobbes, Gauthier, Hooker, Binmore, and Rawls. I argue that the conventionalism of these theories is superficial; genuinely conventionalist theories are not vulnerable to the objection; and genuine moral conventionalism is independently plausible.

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Katharina Nieswandt
Concordia University


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