Social Philosophy

Front Cover
M.E. Sharpe, 1999 M03 26
This short and accessible introductory text discusses how people in a pluralistic society such as ours can accept a common social ethic--a publicly justified morality. It presents clear analyses of the basic concepts, including justifications of liberty, harm to others, private property rights, distributive justice, environmental harms, help to others and offensive behavior. Gaus acquaints the reader with the major figures in social philosophy--John Stuart Mill, Jeremy Bentham, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, David Hume, John Rawls, David Gauthier, and Joel Feinberg--as well as recent communitarian philosophers. The basic technical aspects of social philosophy are also introduced: game theory, social choice theory, the ideas rational action, rational bargaining, and public goods. Throughout, helpful short examples and stories are used to illustrate the material.

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Contents

Moral Authoritarianism and Relativism
3
12 The Suspicion That Morality Is Authoritarian
6
The Easy Way Out?
9
14 Public Morality and Cooperation
16
15 Summary
17
Public Justification
19
22 Actual Assent Views of Public Justification
20
23 Justification Among Purely Rational People
21
62 Two Key Criticisms of Rawlss Contractual Theory
101
63 Liberal Contractualism
106
64 Summary
113
A Framework for Public Morality
115
Liberty
117
72 Mills Case for Liberty of Action
122
73 Autonomy
128
74 Summary
135

24 Public Justification and Reasonableness
23
25 Consensus and Convergence Justifications
27
Valuepromoting Public Moralities
29
32 Competing Values and Public Justification
32
Wide Consensus on Basic Goods
35
Communitarianism
39
35 Summary
46
Utilitarianism as a Public Morality
47
42 Jeremy Bentham and Utilitarianism
48
43 Wantsatisfaction Utilitarianism
50
44 The Problems of Interpersonal Comparisons and Aggregating Preferences
54
45 Is Value Impersonal?
58
46 Nonteleological Utilitarianism
60
47 Utilitarianism as a Public Philosophy
63
48 Summary
67
Strong Contractualism
69
52 Simple NeoHobbesianism
73
53 Gauthiers Reformulation of Hobbesian Moral Contractualism
83
54 Is Strong Contractualism Really About Social Morality?
87
55 Summary
90
Weak Contractualism
92
The Harm Principle
136
82 Psychological Harms
140
83 Is It Always a Harm to Set Back an Interest?
144
84 Risk of Harm
151
85 Harmful Acts and Omissions
154
86 Summary
158
Property
160
92 Lockean Theory and the Proviso
163
Compensation for Losses
167
94 Desert Distributive Justice and Property
172
95 Summary
177
Public Harms and Common Goods
179
102 The Public Goods Principle
187
103 Common Goods
191
104 Summary
195
Two QuasiMillian Principles
197
112 Paternalism
199
113 Offense
210
114 Summary
218
Notes
221
Copyright

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Page 48 - Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do.
Page 3 - It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are of a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question. The other party to the comparison knows both sides.
Page 99 - Each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive total system of equal basic liberties compatible with a similar system of liberty for all.
Page 142 - There are many who consider as an injury to themselves any conduct which they have a distaste for, and resent it as an outrage to their feelings; as a religious bigot, when charged with disregarding the religious feelings of others, has been known to retort that they disregard his feelings, by persisting in their abominable worship or creed.
Page 14 - In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain, and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and, which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor,...
Page 200 - But the strongest of all the arguments against the interference of the public with purely personal conduct is that, when it does interfere, the odds are that it interferes wrongly and in the wrong place.
Page 10 - ... half of what it cost. He told the druggist that his wife was dying and asked him to sell it cheaper or let him pay later. But the druggist said, "No, I discovered the drug and I'm going to make money from it.

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