Introduction to Ethics
Handout 9 - Rawlsian Social Contract Theory
RSCT: an act is morally right if and only if it is permitted by the original position social contract of the society in which the act is performed.
The original position social contract of a society is the moral code that the members of that society would agree to abide by if they were to devise that code in the "original position" (that is, from behind a "veil of ignorance" and motivated by self-interest).
A person is behind the veil of ignorance if he or she is ignorant about the social status, wealth, race, gender, etc. that he or she will have in society.
The Human Chauvinism Argument
1. If RSCT is true, then it is always
morally permissible to inflict needless pain and suffering on nonhuman animals.
2. It is not always morally permissible to inflict needless pain and suffering on nonhuman animals.
3. Therefore, RSCT is not true.