Michael Moehler Speaks on Diversity and the Social Contract

Michael Moehler, Director of the Program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, will give a talk on his most recent research on social contract theory and diversity in the context of the Philosophy Colloquium Series.

This year, the Colloquium Series is organized by Karen Kovaka, a faculty member in philosophy and a PPE Affiliate. The talk will take place on September 26, 2019, from 4-5:30pm, in Smyth Hall 232. Here are the title and abstract of the talk:

“Diversity, Stability, and Contractarian Moral Theory”: The topic of moral diversity is prevalent in contemporary moral philosophy. Moral diversity, however, poses a significant challenge for moral theory building. John Thrasher (Synthese, forthcoming), in his discussion of public reason theory, which includes social contract theory, argues that if one seriously considers the goal of moral constructivism and considerations of coherence and stability, then moral diversity poses an insurmountable problem for most public reason theories. I agree with Thrasher that moral diversity poses a significant challenge for orthodox multistage social contract theories. In fact, I even add a further problem for such theories under the assumption of deep moral diversity. Nevertheless, I argue that my (Moehler 2018) recently developed multilevel social contract theory overcomes these problems. I focus on some of the underexplored features of this theory to show that multilevel social contract theory offers one conceptually coherent and plausible way to render social contract theory viable and relevant for modern diverse societies.

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