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Title: A theory of minimal morality
Author: Moehler, Michael
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 2007
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The idea of the theory of minimal morality is simple. The two-level contractarian theory aims to justify a system of morality that can secure mutually beneficial and globally stable cooperation between individuals living in a pluralistic world. The theory entails three components: local rules of cooperation, a global rule of conflict resolution, and the principle of subsidiarity. The principle of subsidiarity, applied to the theory of minimal morality, dictates the priority of the rules of cooperation and has no further function. The rules of cooperation define the local moralities of different groups of cooperation and are exogenously given. That is, as long as the members of different groups agree with their local rules of cooperation, and the rules do not negatively affect other individuals' interests within or outside the group, the group members can establish any rules that advance their interests. The individuals' agreement with these lower-level rules of cooperation represents the first contract that they enter into, assuming that each individual is at least a member of one such group of cooperation. In order to secure stability of cooperation globally, however, there needs to be, in situations of dispute that cannot be settled by the local moralities, a further rule that is agreed upon by all individuals independently of which group they belong to, to resolve the remaining conflicts. To determine this rule of conflict resolution, the individuals will be hypothetically placed within a rational choice framework, in which they decide un-veiled about a possible mediation rule. I will argue that as a result of this procedure, each individual endowed with a minimal form of reasoning, the rationality of homo prudens, will agree with the weak principle of universalisation as the unique rule of conflict resolution. The individuals' agreement with this higher-level rule of mediation represents the second contract that they enter into. Once the rule of conflict resolution is derived, the regulating institutions of the local groups of cooperation and a specifically established supra-group institution will apply and enforce the rule in order to settle any otherwise un-resolvable intra-and inter-group conflicts. A rational individual will follow the solutions specified, because she can expect that such rule-compliant behaviour is likely to be beneficial for her, or so I will argue.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available