SOPhiA 2022

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

On Scanlon's Individualist Restriction
(Ethics, English)

According to Scanlon's contractualism "an act is wrong if its performance under the circumstances would be disallowed by any set of principles for the general regulation of behavior that no one could reasonably reject as a basis for informed, unforced general agreement" (Scanlon, 1998, p. 153). In deciding which principles could (not) be reasonably rejected, we are only to take into account the reasons of single individuals. This has become known as the Individualist Restriction. The purpose of adopting the Individualist Restriction is to avoid letting the few carry great burdens in order for the many to receive small benefits. This restriction causes difficulties when we are faced with situations where we can save either a larger or a smaller group of people from equal harms; in these cases, contractualism fails to steer us towards saving the larger group outright. Parfit has suggested that Scanlon should drop the Individualist Restriction, a suggestion that Scanlon has recently discussed. In this talk I will flesh out this suggested solution, and discuss how we are to understand the Individualist Restriction. I make a distinction between a strong and a weak version of it. I will argue that the proposed solution only amounts to dropping the restriction if we take the strong interpretation to be the correct one. I will also argue that the strong interpretation actually is the correct interpretation.

Chair: Silvana Pani
Time: 12:00-12:30, 09. September 2022 (Friday)
Location: SR 1.005

Martin Sjöberg 
(Lund University, Sweden)

Testability and Meaning deco