Michael Moehler Publishes on Strategic Justice and Conventions

Michael Moehler, Director and Core Faculty member of the Kellogg Center for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Virginia Tech, published an article on strategic justice, conventionalism, and bargaining theory.

Here is an abstract of the article. Conventionalism as a distinct approach to the social contract received significant attention in the game-theoretic literature on social contract theory. Peter Vanderschraaf’s (Strategic justice: convention and problems of balancing divergent interests. Oxford University Press, 2019) sophisticated and innovative theory of conventional justice represents the most recent contribution to this tradition and, in many ways, can be viewed as a culmination of this tradition. In this article, I focus primarily on Vanderschraaf’s defense of the egalitarian bargaining solution as a principle of justice. I argue that one particular formal feature of this bargaining solution, the baseline consistency requirement, may stand in tension with other features of conventionalism as an approach to the social contract and limit the scope of Vanderschraaf’s theory to societies in which de facto an egalitarian sense of justice evolves. It limits the scope of Vanderschraaf’s theory in the face of moral diversity. A similar limitation applies to Vanderschraaf’s theory of democratic political authority. Despite these minor limitations, Vanderschraaf’s theory can only be seen as a major success and significant contribution to social contract theory.

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