Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/184172
Title:
CONTEMPORARY HOBBESIAN CONTRACTARIANISM.
Author:
KRAUS, JODY STEVEN.
Issue Date:
1987
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
Contemporary Hobbesian contractarianism began in the wake of John Rawls' revitalization of contractarianism in A Theory of Justice and the subsequent body of critical literature which has grown up around it. Philosophers have been impressed with Rawls' powerful application of a contractarian framework to traditional issues in moral and political philosophy but dismayed at the extensive normative precommitments of his particular contractarian theory. They have thus sought an equally powerful contractarian approach unwed to strong normative precommitments. Of all extant contractarian theories, Thomas Hobbes' theory in Leviathan uniquely constitutes such an approach. Like all contractarians, Hobbes specifies a hypothetical choice problem consisting of a choice environment, a choice problem, and a method of resolution. But Hobbes' choice environment purports to make virtually no substantive normative precommitments. The strength of Hobbesian contractarianism is that it seeks to generate substantive normative conclusions from premises established in a normatively minimalistic theoretical framework, and thus promises not to beg any fundamental normative questions. This dissertation considers in detail three comprehensive and game-theoretically sophisticated books which are central to the current corpus of contemporary Hobbesian contractarianism. These are Jean Hampton's Hobbes and the Social Contract Tradition, Gregory Kavka's Hobbesian Moral and Political Theory, and David Gauthier's Morals by Agreement. We explain the common denominators and points of divergence among these theories while undertaking an extensive critical investigation of each. Two fundamental themes emerge from these investigations. First, Hobbesian contractarianism tends to run afoul of collective action problems at various levels of its overall argument. Collective actions problems arise when the requirements of individual and collective rationality diverge. Second, the normative minimalism which is heralded as the primary virtue of Hobbesian contractarianism is also revealed as one of its fundamental problems. By minimalizing its normative precommitments, Hobbesian contractarianism undermines its ultimate goal of generating powerful normative conclusions.
Type:
text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic)
Keywords:
Hobbes, Thomas, 1588-1679 -- Contributions in political science.; Social contract.; Political science -- Philosophy.
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Philosophy; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleCONTEMPORARY HOBBESIAN CONTRACTARIANISM.en_US
dc.creatorKRAUS, JODY STEVEN.en_US
dc.contributor.authorKRAUS, JODY STEVEN.en_US
dc.date.issued1987en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractContemporary Hobbesian contractarianism began in the wake of John Rawls' revitalization of contractarianism in A Theory of Justice and the subsequent body of critical literature which has grown up around it. Philosophers have been impressed with Rawls' powerful application of a contractarian framework to traditional issues in moral and political philosophy but dismayed at the extensive normative precommitments of his particular contractarian theory. They have thus sought an equally powerful contractarian approach unwed to strong normative precommitments. Of all extant contractarian theories, Thomas Hobbes' theory in Leviathan uniquely constitutes such an approach. Like all contractarians, Hobbes specifies a hypothetical choice problem consisting of a choice environment, a choice problem, and a method of resolution. But Hobbes' choice environment purports to make virtually no substantive normative precommitments. The strength of Hobbesian contractarianism is that it seeks to generate substantive normative conclusions from premises established in a normatively minimalistic theoretical framework, and thus promises not to beg any fundamental normative questions. This dissertation considers in detail three comprehensive and game-theoretically sophisticated books which are central to the current corpus of contemporary Hobbesian contractarianism. These are Jean Hampton's Hobbes and the Social Contract Tradition, Gregory Kavka's Hobbesian Moral and Political Theory, and David Gauthier's Morals by Agreement. We explain the common denominators and points of divergence among these theories while undertaking an extensive critical investigation of each. Two fundamental themes emerge from these investigations. First, Hobbesian contractarianism tends to run afoul of collective action problems at various levels of its overall argument. Collective actions problems arise when the requirements of individual and collective rationality diverge. Second, the normative minimalism which is heralded as the primary virtue of Hobbesian contractarianism is also revealed as one of its fundamental problems. By minimalizing its normative precommitments, Hobbesian contractarianism undermines its ultimate goal of generating powerful normative conclusions.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeDissertation-Reproduction (electronic)en_US
dc.subjectHobbes, Thomas, 1588-1679 -- Contributions in political science.en_US
dc.subjectSocial contract.en_US
dc.subjectPolitical science -- Philosophy.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplinePhilosophyen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.identifier.proquest8726830en_US
dc.identifier.oclc698746647en_US
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