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Democratic Justice and the Social Contract$
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Albert Weale

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199684649

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199684649.001.0001

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The theory of democratic social contracts

The theory of democratic social contracts

(p.95) Chapter 4 The theory of democratic social contracts
Democratic Justice and the Social Contract

Albert Weale

Oxford University Press

A theory of the democratic social contract should offer an account of the rationality of agents, the form of equality they enjoy and the common interests around which contractual agreement converges. The good of actors is conceived in terms of access to resources. Democratic contractarianism suggests that rational actors should be capable of reflective distance, be deliberatively competent, be able to specify what actions could as contributing to a goal, and be able to undertake normative self-determination. Their rationality will be defeasible. Equality of power means that each actor can so dispose of resources that other actors need their cooperation in order to advance their own ends. Equality of power is compatible with agents negotiating to their common advantage. Practical public reasoning is concerned with identifying the warranted assertability of decision premisses. This is compatible with an ideal of reciprocity.

Keywords:   practical rationality, practical syllogism, defeasibility, equality of power, universalizability, public reasoning

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