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Minimal MoralityA Multilevel Social Contract Theory$
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Michael Moehler

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198785927

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198785927.001.0001

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Two-Level Contractarian Moral Theory

Two-Level Contractarian Moral Theory

(p.140) 5 Two-Level Contractarian Moral Theory
Minimal Morality

Michael Moehler

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the domain of traditional morality that represents the first level of the two-level contractarian theory. To this end, the chapter presents, in the form of Hume’s moral conventionalism and Gaus’ moral theory, two accounts of morality that, from the perspective of the two-level contractarian theory, help clarify the origin and general features of traditional first-level morality as understood in this book. Further, the chapter clarifies the reasons that the two-level contractarian theory is a two-level theory and not a two-stage theory, and that traditional first-level morality takes priority in regulating morally relevant types of social interaction. Finally, the chapter addresses some practical concerns that may arise in the application of the two-level contractarian theory, especially the application of the weak principle of universalization.

Keywords:   moral conventionalism, traditional first-level morality, Hume, Gaus, two-level contractarian theory

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