Contractualism and the Counter-Culture Challenge

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


T.M. Scanlon's contractualism attempts to give an account of right and wrong in terms of the moral code that could not be reasonably rejected. Reasonably rejectability is then a function of what kind of consequences the general adoption of different moral codes has for different individuals. It has been shown that moral codes should be compared at a lower than 100% level of social acceptance. This leads to the counter-culture challenge. The problem is that the cultural back-ground of the individuals who have not internalized the majority code affects the consequences of the codes and furthermore there does not seem to be a non-arbitrary way of choosing the minority cultures. This chapter first surveys and critically evaluates different responses to this challenge. It then outlines a version of ‘real world contractualism’, which offers the best response to the counter-culture challenge.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Studies in Normative Ethics
EditorsMark Timmons
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9780198808947 , 9780198808930
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2017

Publication series

NameOxford Studies in Normative Ethics
PublisherOxford University Press


  • Contractualism
  • Scanlon
  • non-ideal theory
  • reasonable rejectability
  • counter-culture challenge
  • moral code


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