You are on page 1of 12

Reasons for Moral Conduct

:
Groundwork of Scanlon's
Contractualism
Zbigniew Jan Marczuk
Claremont Graduate University
Zbigniew.Marczuk@cgu.edu

ABSTRACT: Scanlon grounds all moral principles in claims about ''what

individuals have reasons to agree to." Analyzing Scanlon's groundwork, I
discuss his central reason for being concerned with morality and why personal
and impersonal reasons for moral conduct cannot co-exist in his contractualism.
I demonstrate that personal values and reasons are incommensurable with
impersonal values and reasons. Thus, Scanlon needs to exclude impersonal
reasons from the moral theory he advocates. But I argue that there may be a
means of inclusion of both the personal and impersonal values and reasons. I
propose Aristotelian virtue ethics as a plausible foundation for subordinating the
impersonal values and reasons to the value of human rationality in its full
capacity. This subordination may provide the defensible condition that
Scanlon's contractualism requires to justify moral principles to each person on
the grounds of respect for human rationality.
PERSONAL VALUES AND REASONS are incommensurable with
impersonal values and reasons. I propose Aristotelian virtue ethics as a plausible
foundation for subordinating the impersonal values and reasons to the value of
human rationality in its full capacity. This subordination may provide the defensible
condition that Scanlon's contractualism requires to justify moral principles to each
person on the grounds of respect for human rationality.
Describing his contractualism Scanlon writes:
A theory may, as mine does, ground ethical claims in claims about what
individuals have reasons to agree to ... Claims about reasons figured in two
ways in the argument of my book. First, in order to defend claims about the
Philosophy in the Contemporary World 17:1 (Spring 2010)

388-9). First.439). ] I argue. "We cannot reasonably reject some principle by appealing to claims about the goodness of outcomes" (Scanlon 1998.. C) Claims about an individual person's reasons for accepting or rejecting certain principles as standards of conduct allow the defense of contractualist claims about the content of morality (from the first claim).. I believe these three claims about reasons constitute the groundwork for Scanlon's contractualism. while it is worthy of respect. Scanlon makes two restrictions concerning (C). which are not derived from the goodness (or badness) of outcomes. [ . This groundwork deserves careful inquiry because it is challenged by the alternative Kantian contractualist theory. according to my version of contractualism. B) The reason we all have for caring about the justifiability of our actions to others is a central reason for being concerned with the morality of our actions (from the second claim).222). or for any other single person" (Ibid. Second. "In rejecting some moral principle. . But the question that I address is whether there is a plausible way for including impersonal reasons for moral conduct in Scanlon's contractualism. I find Scanlon making the following assertions: A) We (everyone) have reason to act toward others in ways that are justifiable to them (from the second claim). that allow defending the contractualist content of morality. I claimed that we have reason to care about the justifiability of our actions to others and that is a central reason for our concern with the morality of our actions (Scanlon 2003. I disagree. we must appeal to this principle's implications only for ourselves. that the idea of promoting the best consequences.Reasons for Moral Conduct 67 content of morality. Hence. I restate (C) as: C1) It is only the claims about an individual person's reasons for accepting or rejecting principles as standards of conduct. proposed by Derek Parfit (Parfit 2004 and 2006). 229). Parfit argues that Scanlon's contractualism would become stronger if Scanlon would allow impersonal reasons for moral conduct in his groundwork (parfit 2003. I agree with Parfit that impersonal reasons for moral conduct are relevant to Scanlon's contractualism. 425-6). on the other hand. Thus. should be subordinated to the idea of justifiability to others (Scanlon 2003. Scanlon does not explicitly state that the goodness of outcomes cannot be a reason to accept a principle of conduct. But in his reply to Philip Pettit he writes: He takes the promotion of the best consequences as the ultimate basis on which standards of conduct should be justified. Second. one needs to make claims about reasons that individuals have for accepting or rejecting certain principles as standards of conduct.

Scanlon thinks that social agreeableness is a valuable state of affairs in itself. Scanlon observes that people may have a variety of reasons for selecting one or another way of living. On account of their rationality.68 Zbigniew Jan Marczuk In what follows. and select a life that is worth living from the various ways of living that are possible to them. But I argue that there may be a means of inclusion of both the personal and impersonal values and reasons. I discuss Scanlon's central reason for being concerned with morality. human beings have the capacity to assess reasons and justifications. were seeking principles of mutual governance which other rational creatures could not reasonably reject" (Scanlon 1998. But Scanlon qualifies this statement. Central Reason to Be Concerned with Morality Scanlon thinks that all rational beings are valuable. Respecting human lives involves "seeing reasons not to destroy them. To accomplish this. 104). reasons to protect them and reasons to want them to go well" Scanlon 1998. in Scanlon's theory. ''to call something valuable is to say that it has other [natural] properties that provide reasons for behaving in certain ways with regard to it" (Scanlon 1998. too. A community is a desirable form of human living. 96). Therefore. the reason we all have for acting toward others in ways that are justifiable to them rests in the fact that we understand the value of a rational being. I propose Aristotelian virtue ethics as a plausible foundation for subordinating the impersonal values and reasons to the value of human rationality in its full capacity. we ought to address them in a way that respects human reason-assessing and self-governing capacities. Scanlon proposes that such standards for social conduct become moral principles if no member of the community could reasonably reject them. Agreeable living inevitably calls for justifiable standards to regulate and evaluate social conduct. The term reasonable. Human beings can be best respected within agreeable social living. Thus. means to take into . why personal and impersonal reasons for moral conduct cannot co-exist in Scanlon's contractualism. 106). This action may provide the defensible condition that Scanlon's contractualism requires to justify moral principles to each person on the grounds of respect for human rationality. Rationality is a natural reason-giving property that requires treating each rational being with respect. In Scanlon's view. he advises us ''to treat rational creatures only in ways that would be allowed by principles that they could not reasonably reject insofar as they. Social agreeableness is the best state of communal affairs. as it contributes to the happiness of its members. I demonstrate why Scanlon arrives at his position that it is necessary to exclude impersonal reasons from the moral theory that he advocates. saying that these reasons "are matters of respect and concern for the person whose life it is rather than of respect for human life. We understand that each person is a "locus of reasons" to live a better life. everyone has reasons to pursue communal agreeableness." Respectful acts toward another person are those which are rationally justifiable to this person. provided this community shares the aim of finding principles such that no one could reasonably reject. and why personal values and reasons are incommensurable with impersonal values and reasons. If we need to respond to these reasons.

our understanding the value of human rationality gives us reason to act toward others in ways that are justifiable to them. a reason for acting is "a consideration that in fact counts in favor of some action. Scanlon argues that these features and properties "count in favor of' one's acting in certain ways. Impersonal reasons are impartial when they give equal weight to every person's well-being. In this view. may be rationally as strong as the impersonal reasons to care for communal welfare. Scanlon uses this word in a different moral sense. which promote either personal or impersonal reasons for acting. Principles that no one could reasonably reject are morally authoritative to all community members because they are justifiable to every person of this community. 424-5). believing. believing. We are unreasonable." Thus. some personal reasons to care for one's own well-being. the reasons that in fact count in favor of an action determine what action is rationally . Rejection of Impersonal Basis for Morality According to Scanlon's Contractualism. the fact that cold weather has a natural feature that causes one's discomfort when outdoors and the fact that going indoors will relieve this discomfort. believing. according to Scanlon. recognizing that people may have strong personal and impersonal reasons for acting. For example. or the well-being of people one loves. reasons are personal when they promote a single person's interests. and this reason becomes central for us to be concern with the justifiable (moral) rules for conduct (A and B). and desiring. "given the supposed aim of reaching agreement or finding a course of action that everyone will be happy with" (Scanlong 1998.Reasons for Moral Conduct 69 account other people's interests. Derek Parfit writes: "Though 'reasonable' usually means much the same as 'rational'. events. people. Thus. and desiring. The "counting in favor of' certain acting. Many critics noted that the term "reasonable" is ambiguous in Scanlon's theory. According to Scanlon. constitutes reasons for so doing. Everyone's rational concern for preserving social agreeableness implies relevant impersonal reasons that should be considered in the process of seeking justifiable principles for social conduct. Scanlon's contractualism is a wide value-based theory. But Scanlon restricts the reasons that people can offer to one another in the process of selecting justifiable principles for conduct to the individual person's reasons (Cl). According to this theory. 192). Scanlon's rejection of the impersonal reasons from the process of selecting authoritative principles for social conduct requires an explanation. The wide value-based theories oppose the narrow value-based theories. for he recognizes the validity and strength of both impersonal and impartial reasons for acting. in this sense. Explaining this term. give a person reason to go inside (Scanlon 2003. 33. This restriction is questionable for Scanlon recognizes the state of agreeable social living as valuable in itself. The value of social agreeableness gives everyone a strong impersonal reason for promoting a social arrangement that maximizes peaceful living. Reasons can be personal or impersonal. 368). Reasons are impersonal when they promote a common welfare. and states of affairs. and desiring are derived from the natural features and properties of things. if we ignore or give too little weight to some other people's well-being or moral claims" (Parfit 2003. reasons for acting.

Such aims give impersonal reasons for acting and call for impartial assessment of their strength. . and what action people could reasonably object to as being unfair. However. or equal to the strength of impersonal reasons impartially derived from the value of some impersonal aim. This sacrifice is choiceworthy for her. there is no a single concept of ''well-being that is. or equal by different individuals. without qualifications. A similar choiceworthy aim may be valued less. is not settled by the way things look to you (Sosa 2004. or unjust to them (Ibid. hannful. 426). Thus. because it may give her children a better life. I use the notion of incommensurability advocated by Joseph Raz. to what is impersonally best from the impartial perspective. at the same time. 426-7).. a notion that is central to the deliberation of the individual whose life is in question and a notion that captures the way in which benefits and burdens for that individual should be measured" (Scanlon 2003. Scanlon 2003. For example. depending on the person. but whether or not it does. even/or you.373-4). 435). Since the value of a choiceworthy aim is agent-related. then. more.70 Zbigniew Jan Marczuk justifiable. Two values are incommensurable if it is false that "either one is better than the other or they are of equal value" (Raz 1986. Hence. Scamon separates these reasons from the personal reasons while selecting the moral principles. Apparently. the value of a rational being and her rational interests are incommensurable with the value of communal welfare or the value of social institutions. even given the point of view you occupy. It may look to you as if caring for the relative involves a lower level of well being. a person may have a good reason to sacrifice her comfort and many pleasures to benefit her children. he thinks that it is implausible to devise a moral theory that appeals to the rational requirement of respecting an individual person and. this choiceworthy decision contributes to a net gain in her well-being. for there is no reliable account that allows measuring the strength of personal reasons against the strength of impersonal impartial reasons. We cannot measure the strength of these reasons because. 131. But Scamon thinks that a person may have good reason to choose aims that result in a lower level of her well-being. the impersonal impartial reasons are the strongest form of the impersonal reasons.342). the impersonal impartial reasons for acting in a certain way are umikely to support the value of rational beings or an aim that is rationally most worthy for an individual person. But there is no reliable way to measure whether or not. at the same time. for it is not possible to evaluate the weight of impersonal impartial reasons against the personal reasons. As Scanlon says. and to what extent. weaker. Scamon admits that there are social aims such as justice or fair distribution that imply equal consideration for all members of the community. Scanlon argues that from the perspective of an individual person the notion of wellbeing is indeterminate (Scanlon 1998. The life that a person selects as worth living for her includes certain aims that make this life choiceworthy. There is no agreeable solution to conflicts between the value of a rational being and what is best for the society from the impartial perspective. Responding to this issue David So sa writes: What is best from your point of view may not be obvious to you. this choiceworthy aim can provide reasons that are stronger.

Without qualification. for this reason. Thus. or theories of justice) do not capture the notion of well-being that is explicitly moral. she may choose to bring her impoverished parents in to her home because of her love for them. She makes this in spite of her moderate means and limited living space. Scanlon excludes the impersonal reasons from the process of justifying principles for social conduct... Scanlon believes that a moral theory needs to take into account an individual person's interests (insofar as they are rational) and her reasons for supporting her own better life. Parfit argues that "If Scanlon dropped his Individualist Restriction [provided in my text below].Reasons for Moral Conduct 71 Sosa suggests that choiceworthiness may not be reliably evaluated even from the perspective of the person whose well being is at stake. also deny the claim that each person's reasons for having a better life are an important part of a moral foundation. contributes to a person's own well-being. he questions the merit of appealing to what is best for an individual person to choose from her own perspective. That would strengthen his theory" Parfit 2003. neither the value of a choiceworthy aim can be measured against an objective value. 388-9). and both groups are . I think this observation does not invalidate Scanlon's argument.. Such theories have a build-in preference for the impersonal impartially best events over the personal interests. The impossibility of measuring personal values and reasons against impersonal values and reasons disallows subordination of one set of these values and reasons to the other set. nor can the personal reasons to pursue this value be measured against the impersonal reasons to pursue an objective value. the concept of an individual person's well-being is unspecified.427).. this person may still find it worthy to choose an aim that she knows is not contributing the most to her well-being. Impersonalists Parfit argues that Scanlon's moral theory would be stronger if it allowed appealing to both the impersonal and the personal reasons in the process of justifiability of moral principles. Let us assume a social arrangement in which some agents take personal reasons for their moral basis (call them Personalists). Scanlon thinks that theories that deny the supreme value of each rational being and pursue the impartially best states of social affairs (for example. The love she has for her parents can provide strong reasons for her to pursue aiding her parents and so choosing to lower her living standard. These theories focus on ''the degree to which success in an aim . Personal choiceworthy aims are agent-related and. He denies the moral content of theories that declare the impartially best states of social affairs to be a "master value. To avoid this problem in his contractualism. some others take impersonal reasons (call them Impersonalists). For example." instead of ''the moral question of how just social institutions must aid individuals in the pursuit of their aims" (Scanlon 2003. social choice theories." or a moral criterion. Personalists vs. But moral theories that deny the supreme value of a rational being. This maneuver ensures consideration of an individual person's claims and selection of moral principles based on an individual person's reasons. The point is that whether or not there is an objective reference point indicating what aim is best for a person.

they would deny that the Impersonalist approach to promote maximized social benefits had any moral characteristic. The Impersonalists would reject the priority of respecting each individual person. 517). when the Impersonalists and Personalists disagree about what factors are morally relevant and decisive? Scanlon advocates that the moral concerns should address such questions as: "What measures must I take to avoid possible injury of others? Does this inconvenience count as a good reason to disappoint someone's expectation? Is it permissible to impose this cost on one person in order to benefit others in that way?" Scanlon believes these are the first-order moral questions a systematic moral theory should answer (see Scanlon 2002. states of affairs. events. that is. the reasons that the value of a rational being provides for respecting each person would surpass the impersonal reasons derived from the maximized social benefits. 516-7). because such a principle subordinates the value of human (rational) beings to the value of communal welfare. This reason comes from our actual understanding the fact that human rationality surpasses any other human value. Thus. or the fact that someone is counting on him or her to do something" (Scanlon 2002. even if this choice is not the most beneficial to them. or the fact that someone needs help. Now the questions are: a) what counts as moral concern(s) and b) what is the common ground to justify standards of conduct. human rationality. because this approach denies the principal value of an individual person. They would derive their decisive reason for acting from the understanding that each human being has a primary value that deserves respect. That reason would allow them to consider as justifiable some principle which maximizes distribution of a communal benefit but also requires sacrificing the welfare of few unfortunate agents. Moreover. He proposes two restrictions for the justifiability of moral principles to each person (these two conditions are named the Anti-Consequentialist Restriction and the Individualist Restriction by Parfit and not Scanlon). for such a priority does not aim to support the impartially best choices. the Personalists would reject such an Impersonalist principle as being morally unjustifiable to them. Personalists would find morally relevant concerns in facts such as ''the fact that acting in a certain way would kill or injure someone. each rational being is most valuable. How do the Personalists and Impersonalists decide whether they should choose that which is rationally recognized as most valuable or that which is rationally recognized as most beneficial as their moral objective? Scanlon thinks that people have reasons to choose what is rationally determined as most valuable.72 Zbigniew Jan Marczuk willing to acknowledge all reason-based claims to seek moral principles justifiable to both sides. They would declare the primary importance of respecting each rational being. The Impersonalists would presumably fmd moral concerns in the impartially good and bad events and would derive decisive reasons for being concerned with morality from the rational requirement to promote events of maximum value for their community. Whether these few unfortunate agents were Personalists or not. . Scanlon lists these considerations while discussing his view on the normative basis of morality. If this ground was universally justifiable. These questions may not be the primary moral concerns of the Impersonalists.

that is. thus. To enhance communal sustainability. Eliminating these claims from the process of selecting moral principles would keep his contractualism separate from non-moral theories. The Impersonalists' appeal to the value of the best social arrangement is grounded in the instinct of self-preservation that is fundamental to all living beings. But their appeal would compete against the Impersonalists' appeal to the impartially best arrangement for the communal sustainability. Scanlon observes that the claims that appeal to the goodness of outcomes do not capture that which he regards as essentially moral. the moral scope opens to the sets of claims that extend beyond what Personalists consider to be morality. every society needs a set of rules that regulate the social arrangement. The value of this arrangement provides everyone with reasons to support it and select a set of rules that maximize communal benefits. The Personalists' claims would have to compete against claims about what is politically. their primary arguments would appeal to the understanding the value of a rational being and to the primary importance of respecting this value in each person. economically. respecting the interests of an individual person. if the Personalists agree to dismiss Scanlon's restriction from the process of mutual justification. we must appeal to this principle's implications only for ourselves. As long as the principle of self-preservation is not justifiably subordinated to any superior value. This reasoning shows that the claims that appeal to the goodness of outcomes are relevant for justifying principle for social conduct that the Personalists and Impersonalists aim to find. everyone may perceive the maximum selfpreservation as the overall strongest reason-giving factor. Any social arrangement that secures communal sustainability is valuable to the members of this society. do not justify . Eliminating impersonal reasons derived from the most sustainable social arrangement. every society needs to have some internal order. Suspending the Individualist Restriction. However. is unjustifiable to the Impersonalists. Now. Such claims provide reasons with which the Personalists' reasons for moral conduct cannot pair. In this defense. or for any other single person. this arrangement becomes the most valuable to its members. which are the incommensurability of values and incommensurability of reasons derived from these values." Scanlon's reasoning may be unconvincing to the Impersonalists. the Personalists would have to defend their claim that ''what we owe to each person" cannot be subordinated to the communal welfare." Individualist Restriction: "In rejecting some moral principle. Thus. while selecting principles of conduct. or lawfully most beneficial to the society.Reasons for Moral Conduct 73 Anti-Consequentialist Restriction: "We cannot reasonably reject some principle by appealing to claims about the goodness of outcomes. There is no reason to exclude claims that appeal to the most sustainable social arrangement from the process of selecting justifiable principles of social conduct. the social arrangement that maximizes communal benefits makes the society the most sustainable. But the grounds he offers for this separation. The arrangement that is most effective in this task makes the society the most sustainable.

The concept of the Greatest Good is also the leading idea in Parfit's Kantian Contractualism. Parfit writes: If we all treat each other only in ways to which everyone could rationally consent. Discussing the way people should treat each other. an ideal world that requires treating each other in a way to which everyone could rationally consent. 186-7.339). We cannot always let everyone choose how we treat them. and Parfit 2004.' and requires that each agent evaluates any potential principle of conduct from the impartialist position (Parfit 2006. Kant might be right to claim that this is how everyone ought to act (see Parfit 2006.212. Impartialism requires giving equal weight to everyone's well-being. For example. but he rejects it at the level of a particular action (see. To promote the realm of universal virtue and deserved happiness. Parfit's formula aims at selecting principles such that 'everyone could rationally will. In this view. if that is possible. We might be able to achieve this ideal. For each individual human being has potentiality to develop all human perfections in her own self. This would prioritize respecting each human being and an individual preron's rational interests to live a choiceworthy life. The fully realized human rationality may be equated with the human perfection inscribed in the idea of human species. 109. But it might be possible for everyone always to act in ways to which everyone could rationally consent. Parfit affirms impartialism when giving arguments for or against moral principles. we would achieve the ideal world that Kant calls the Realm of Ends. Scanlon could affirm fully realized human rationality as the chief value for every person. I believe. states of affairs are consequences of human rationality. 'We ought to act on principles whose being universal laws everyone could rationally will' (see Parfit 2006. Kant thinks that rationality commands human beings to contribute as much as they can to attain the human perfection and state of the Greatest Good. From this position. And. rational beings are not subjected to the basic instinct of self-preservation the way other living beings are.224). These consequences are secondary to human rationality.' that is. n. the Impersonalists may be compelled to accept human rationality as the supreme value based upon the acknowledgement that the impartially best choices.348). Human Rational Perfection: Kantian or Aristotelian Approach? The above analysis does not support Parfit's view that Scanlon's contractualism would become stronger if he would admit impersonal reasons for moral conduct to his groundwork. Kant's Realm of Ends becomes the 'Greatest Good' when all human beings that are striving for universal virtue are able to attain all the happiness they deserve (Parfit 2006. Parfit offers his Kantian Contractualist Formula. 120). events. the realization of human perfections may be accepted as the highest aim by all individual persons.74 Zbigniew Jan Marczuk excluding impersonal reasons from the contractualist process of selecting justifiable principles of conduct. This Aristotelian modification of Scanlon's contractualism is in agreement with Kant's concept of the 'Realm of Ends. 292). But Scanlon's theory would become stronger if he justifiably subordinated all social claims to the single value of a rational being. A person can rationally choose to scarify her life for a noble cause. while .

it is not possible for agents to know which principle is such that everyone could rationally choose. the strongest reasons supporting the best possible state of affairs cannot be outweighed by any other conflicting reasons. Scanlon's agents cannot adopt the impartialist position while evaluating personal reasons against impersonal reasons in the process of seeking principles such that "everyone could rationally will. thus. he would have to renounce his commitment to the subjectivity of personal well being. aiming to promote human perfection within a communal living. Alternatively." Seeking the fulfillment of human rational potentials justifies respecting each person's rational interests. each person has both personal and impersonal reasons for promoting the events and state of affairs which contribute the most to the development of human rational perfections in her own self and in others. This fundamental claim in Parfit's theory presupposes that the impersonal impartial reasons are always conclusive for the principle-seeking agents. Such knowledge is necessary to evaluate a potential principle as universally willable. He could not advocate respecting each person on the grounds of her individual reason-assessing and selfgoverning capacities to live a better life. The inability to attain the relevant knowledge that is necessary for rmding a 'set of principles whose universal acceptance would make things go best' makes it impossible to select any verifiable set of principles for conduct. The Aristotelian approach seems more promising to establish a social arrangement that supports the rational fulfillment of each person. then everyone has reason to care for social agreeableness. Furthermore. Thus. Assuming the supreme value of human rationality in its full capacity. the same commitment to human rationality in its fullness gives everyone reasons to reject a social arrangement that generates the best aggregated outcomes on the expense of some unfortunate rational beings. However. Provided that rationality is the distinguishing characteristic of a human species and the most advanced power of the human being. This Aristotelian interpretation would support Scanlon's formula for selecting principles for conduct. These reasons can be both personal and impersonal. If this development is best achieved in an agreeable social arrangement. If Scanlon accepted Parlit's formula as a method to establish social principles of conduct. assuming the realization of human rational perfections as the central reason for morality would keep Scanlon's theory separate from the theories that focus on social success sum total. for no one could reasonably reject principles for social .Reasons for Moral Conduct 75 considering other agents' reasons for accepting and rejecting each principle. the establishment of principles for conduct according to Parlit's formula requires that the agents have full knowledge about each other and the society. This requirement is highly demanding and may not be satisfied in practice. Because of the agent-dependent choiceworthiness.' The strength of personal reasons is agent-dependent. This supports Scanlon's commitment to the "moral question of how just social institutions must aid individuals in the pursuit of their aims. Scanlon's contractualism cannot support Parlit's formula for it is committed to the subjectivity of choiceworthiness. everyone has a decisive reason for pursuing the development of the human rational potentials. Parfit argues that from the impartialist position.

42). dignity. we should take into account the wrong-making properties and the right-making properties. For example. Although he believes that the concept of "right" in the moral sense is indefinable. A principle that allows breaking an insignificant promise would be rejected because it undermines the value of honor and reliability. People accept and rely on promises because they trust that those who offer them value honor and reliability. Sir David Ross proposes to seek such guidance in our moral intuitions. He suggests that these judgments may be supported with some secondary features that indicate the rational perfection of an agent. 283). who does not appreciate honor. But it may be worthwhile to undertake this task. involved in an action. Here. He admits that human beings do not have a reliable intuitive faculty that provides them with exact knowledge about what is the right thing to do in a given situation. the general principles must have been reached by intuitive induction from particular cases in which the compresence of rightness with certain non-ethical characteristics was directly observed (Ross 2002. The strength of all reasons for accepting or rejecting a principle may be derived from the conditions that the proposed principle would set for the rational betterment of all members. which the agent noticed but ignored. would be accepted based upon the fact that it recognizes and endorses the dignity that each person has as a locus of all human perfections. a principle that demands helping others when one can. He believes that this fallible sense is the only guiding faculty we have (Ross 2002. On the contrary. A person. we should try to formulate a guide for the right (most rational) human conduct based upon judgments of people with practical wisdom. and values her own achievements more than these perfections. The obligation depends on the understanding the value of the human rational perfections. If Ross is right. from the intuitions of people with practical wisdom. or any other human perfection. in the eighth chapter of his Foundation ofEthics. Thus. or the lack of it. But the general principles that thoughtful and well-educated people can inductively derive from their moral intuitions may be codified into a set of guiding rules for the rationally best conduct. Ross writes: It is not the case that that singular judgments of rightness are always reached by inference from general principles which assert entailments. violates the human rationality in her self. the obligation to keep a promise or to help others does not depend on the harmful outcomes that the promise-break or failure-to-help may cause to another person. which are essential parts of the human rational perfection. Ross thinks that the most reliable judgments of the rights and wrongs of human actions come from the intuitions of "thoughtful and well-educated people. reliability. Linking Scanlon's contractualism with Aristotelian virtue ethics requires careful definition of the human nature and its perfection in order to formulate a guide for the right (most rational) human conduct. .76 Zbigniew Jan Marczuk conduct that instantiate the optimal conditions for the realization of human perfections in each and every rational being." that is.

Forthcoming. Derek. D. and Deigh. But I argue that it is unjustifiable to exclude one kind of reason from this conflict. Good Thing. to reach the desired results. 1998. Thomas. Oxford: Oxford University Press. B. Parfit. 2004. D. Dworkin. 2002 (1930). Climbing the Mountain. and Reliance: Replies to Wallace. Foundation ofEthics. the primary value of the best social arrangement rests in its maximum conditions for developing human rational potentials. Derek. 2002. G. living with others who are also committed to social agreeableness creates certain expectations from each person of this society. We have to choose. The society is valuable in itself and it deserves everyone's support. it may be justified by the value of human rationality in its full capacity. for we cannot measure the importance of one kind of interests against another. If Scanlon's idea of justifiability to each person is morally valid. 2004. "Reasons. Ross. Peterson. W. 2006. Raz. "A Big. 2003. But this value is unavoidably challenged by the greatest benefit for the society sum total. The most basic expectation is to acknowledge the value of human rationality in each person. "What We Could Rationally Will. vol." Ratio XVI 4: 424-439. "Justifiability to Each Person. Thomas. Sosa. Responsibility. Parfit. 2003. 1986. W. Ross. If a conflict occurs between an individual person's interests. Thomas. 24. Oxford: Clarendon Press. The Right and The Good. Joseph. Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press. From the Aristotelian perspective. MA: Harvard University Press. Scanlon.Reasons for Moral Conduct 77 Concluding Remarks In Scanlon's view. and the interests of society as a whole. as I think it is. "Replies. Derek." Ethics 112: 507-528." Ratio XVI 4 (2003): 388-9. . Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1986." in The Tanner Lectures on Human Values. Cambridge. Works Cited Parfit. I believe that Aristotelian virtue ethics may provide grounds for such subordination. The contractualist principles for moral conduct may be attainable if Scanlon subordinates the value of agreeable social arrangement to the value of human rationality in its full capacity. without sufficient grounds. Ross." Nous 38:2: 359-399. Scanlon. there is no agreeable solution. ed. What We Owe to Each Other. 1939. Scanlon. David. The Morality ofFreedom.