The Restructuring of Social and Political Theory by Richard J. Bernstein

By Richard J. Bernstein

During this quantity, Bernstein forsees and descriptions the improvement of a social concept that's instantly empirical, interpretive, and important.

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I have nothing to add to Little's conclusion on the possibility of interpersonal comparisons of utility. I only want to supplement his argument by an analysis of the logical basis of such comparisons. I shall deal with the problem of comparisons between total utilities only, neglecting the problem of comparisons between differences in utility, since the social welfare functions discussed in the previous sections contain only total utilities of individuals. 21 Even identical preferences among uncertain prospects (satisfying the Marschak axioms) are compatible with different absolute levels of utility, since they do not uniquely determine the zero points and the scales of the corresponding cardinal utility functions.

25 case of hypothetical imperatives of the formal type, viz. the case where the criterion to be satisfied is that of causal efficiency in producing a certain desired effect. The existence of non-causal hypothetical imperatives removes an important objection to the view that moral rules are hypothetical imperatives. g. the production of pleasure). But one need not be a strict utilitarian to think that moral rules prescribe patterns of behaviour which satisfy certain formal criteria. II I propose first to show that non-moral imperatives are always hypothetical imperatives.

NOTE * Mind, 67 (1958), 305-316. See W. Kneale, 'Objectivity in Morals', Philosophy, April 1950, pp. 149-166; R. Firth, 'Ethical Absolutism and the Ideal Observer', Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, March 1952, pp. 317-345; and J. N. Findlay, 'The Justification of AttitUdes', Mind, April 1954, pp. 145-161. I CHAPTER 'V CAN THE MAXIMIN PRINCIPLE SERVE AS A BASIS FOR MORALITY? A CRITIQUE OF JOHN RAWLS'S THEORY*§ I. INTRODUCTION John Rawls's A Theory of Justice' is an important book. It is an attempt to develop a viable alternative to utilitarianism, which up to now in its various forms was virtually the only ethical theory proposing a reasonably clear, systematic, and purportedly rational concept of morality.

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