Contractualism and the Significance of Perspective-Taking

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Many of us think that perspective-taking is relevant to moral judgment. In this paper I claim that Scanlon’s contractualism provides an appealing and distinctive account of why this is so. Contractualism interprets our moral judgments as making claims about the reasons of individuals in various situations, reasons that we can only recognise by considering their perspectives. Contractualism thereby commits itself to the view that our capacity for moral judgment depends on our capacity for perspective-taking. I show that neither utilitarianism nor Kantianism assign a similar significance to our capacity for perspective-taking.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)909-925
Number of pages17
JournalEthical Theory and Moral Practice
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2015


  • Contractualism
  • Moral judgment
  • Perspective-Taking
  • Empathy
  • Scanlon

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