chapter  4
18 Pages

Does Scepticism Beget Libertarianism? A Response to Narveson on Reason, Morality and Politics

This chapter rehearses the case about the appropriate baseline for contractarian moral and political theory. Contractarianism offers its clients a justification for morality; that is, a justification for morality from non-moral premises, and a justification pegged to the client's occurrent desire-sets. Moreover, contractarianism can tell the clients which moral dispositions to adopt, given those occurrent desire-sets. According to Thomas Hobbes it is that 'two men desire the same thing, which nevertheless they cannot both enjoy' that makes morality and politics necessary. But, he adds, what makes morality and politics possible is that many of the commodities over which we compete, though scarce, can be shared. In other words, we are facing only moderate scarcity. Game theoreticians capture this by saying we are faced with mixed-motive games. Or, in yet other game-theoretic terms, by the moderate scarcity condition is meant the availability of a cooperative dividend.