chapter  9
16 Pages

Getting the Baseline Right

This chapter claims that it is rational to agree to, for the basic general purposes of morals, is the libertarian principle. John T. Sanders points out that if social contract theory is to work, it will work not because people adopt morality in the style of a contract negotiation with subsequent agreement but because considerations of what is in their best longer-run interests control their behaviour. The Lockean Proviso (LP) is not the 'baseline for bargaining' in the foundations of morals: it needs justifying, like everything else in morals. Participants in bargaining games can settle wherever they please says the Lockean Proviso. Game theory, with its unlimited conceptual resources, might make things too complicated. There is also the puzzling issue of how game theory relates to the real world. Peter Danielson's title, 'Simple Games and Complex Ethics', suggests what one should not accept without further question: namely, that game theory simplifies while ethics is complex.