This is a clearly written and argued defence of a certain kind of contractualism as providing theoretical foundations for morality. For those sympathetic to contractualism as an explanation of the grounds of moral judgments, Southwood offers an alternative to Gauthier’s contemporary Hobbesian and Scanlon’s contemporary Kantian accounts, both of which he criticizes at length before offering his alternative. His version is in an important way more ambitious than Scanlon’s, since his account is reductive where Scanlon’s is not: the ground of morality for Southwood lies in non-moral, although still normative, properties or constraints. He calls his version deliberative contractualism, since it is based on a conception of deliberative rationality. Morality is constituted by the code of principles or rules to which rational deliberators would agree. Rational deliberators comply with a set of deliberative norms presupposed in the activity of deliberation.

This account shares the attractions of...

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