Liberty, Games and Contracts: Jan Narveson and the Defence by Malcolm Murray

By Malcolm Murray

Jan Narveson is among the most vital modern defenders of the libertarian political place. in contrast to different libertarians who more often than not protect their view as regards to common rights or an attract utilitarianism, Narveson's major contribution has been to provide a philosophical defence of libertarianism in accordance with a Hobbesian individualist contractarian ethic. reviews of Narveson's contractarian libertarianism fall into 3 different types, those who reject contractarian ethical idea, those who reject any hyperlink among contractarianism and libertarianism and people who accuse libertarians of conflating liberty with estate. during this e-book Malcolm Murray brings jointly the main major of Narveson's critics and provides their paintings along replies through Jan Narveson.

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Extra info for Liberty, Games and Contracts: Jan Narveson and the Defence of Libertarianism

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It is hard to see why anyone should prefer Narveson’s framework, in principle, to Rawls’s. Indeed, it seems that Narveson might just as well have preserved the veil-of-ignorance contraption while lobbying for its repositioning. We need to take into consideration, according to Narveson, some of the things that Rawls argued should be obscured. So why not just move back the veil a bit? We are still in pretty abstract territory, after all, when compared to real human beings making real decisions and making (or failing to make) real agreements and contracts.

It is just not plausible to contend that people, any more than non-human animals, restrain their behaviour in conformity with social rules because they have thought the matter through and have concluded that such restraint is in their longterm best interest. 26 Liberty, Games and Contracts So if that is what we are to understand by the claim that ‘people behave morally because it’s in their interest’, then the claim is quite dubious. 23 First of all, then, the bare fact of mutual restraint among interacting beings, people included, implies not only nothing about agreements made between them, it implies nothing at all about perceptions or reasoning processes they may have experienced.

That is, norms resulting from promises have moral force only if promising, independently of any agreement making it binding, has moral force. 33 34 Liberty, Games and Contracts The other alternative is to accept that there is some inborn motive or drive that impels those party to a compact to live by it. Then the norms will be adhered to not because of the agreement to abide by them, but because such an agreement is something the parties had to make – for example, so as to secure their safety or preserve their lives.

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