Download e-book for kindle: Choosing Justice: An Experimental Approach to Ethical Theory by Norman Frohlich

By Norman Frohlich

This e-book offers a completely new solution to the query: "What is fair?" of their radical method of ethics, Frohlich and Oppenheimer argue that a lot of the empirical method of the typical sciences might be utilized to the moral questions of equity and justice.

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Additional info for Choosing Justice: An Experimental Approach to Ethical Theory (California Series on Social Choice & Political Economy)

Sample text

What is the context of the deliberations and choice in the laboratory? Our experimental conditions parallel those set up by Rawls in his indeterminate thought experiment. An enumeration of his conditions serves as a guide to our design and his intentions. Rawls structures the situation carefully to generate his conclusions. He posits: the stakes involved in the distributive issue; the restricted level of information available to the individuals; the agenda of principles of distributive justice; and the procedures for discussion of, and voting on, the most preferred principle.

As Stephen Darwall (1983, p. 94) notes in discussing the question of the motivating power of preferences: "If we put so much distance between ourselves and the objects of our intrinsic < previous page page_17 If you like this book, buy it! " To the extent that Harsanyi and Rawls cannot be precise regarding those tastes that remain vested in individuals behind the veil, their conclusions are subject to biases in their projections. And any individual can conceivably be subject to some distortion of perspective when viewing the original position through the lens of his or her own experience, knowledge, and intuition.

2 Harsanyi, by contrast, assumes that people are expected-value maximizers. In our experimental situation we cannot posit behavior but rely, instead, on the revealed behavior of real human beings in the laboratory. Conditions for Choosing a Principle But choices cannot be made in a vacuum. Institutional conditions and constraints must be specified. As Hare says (1973, p. 149): The important thing to notice about all such [hypothetical-choice] theories is that what this hypothetical person would choose, if it is determinate at all (which many such theories fail to make it) has to be determined by the conditions to which he is subject.

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