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July 18, 2013

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TWO PARTING THOUGHTS

A non-zero sum interaction is fully rational only if it results in a Pareto-optimal outcome.

Seek cooperation and adhere to it if it is to be had. Only if it is not to be had, or the Invisible Hand is at work, should you resort to utility maximization.

This discussion has been wonderful to follow and I hope to add something substantive to it soon. But in the meantime, I want to let people know that the Canadian Association for Reductionist Philosophy is taking The Lockean Proviso as it topic for this year's annual meeting. The meeting will be Oct. 20, 2013 in Ontario. Jan Narveson has the details.

Susan

I don't want to have the last word, much less to force David to say more. But let me say something.

I should not have used the multiply ambiguous term 'realist' in my remarks above. I was thinking that one could combine a broadly Aristotelian story about all but one of the virtues with a constructivist contractarian account of justice.

One of David's virtues as a moral philosopher is to insist that we try to determine what reasons we have to be moral or, I would say, to be just. Forgetting for a moment what we should include under the term 'moral', let us think about the traditional virtues. Courage and moderation are important for all humans; one can see how a story can be told about them and the way they help us. One has reason to become a courageous and temperate person. A different story can, I think, be told about other-directed benevolence or charity. David is right that it will involve the emotions. Justice is different (even if it engages the emotions, cf. resentment). It is owed TO others and is meant to settle what is to be done. The fact that this is yours and not mine means I may not take it without your permission; that (defeasibly) settles what I am to do. The constraining nature of justice, the fact that it settles what we are to do (its reasons are preemptive), and the directed duties it issues make it problematic. The stories that can be plausibly told about the other virtues don't seem to work here (see Republic, Nico. Ethics). Contractarianism seems like the right story about justice.

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