Contractualism and the question of direction


*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


Directed duties are those duties whose violation would wrong someone in particular. Under what conditions, and in virtue of what, is a duty directed to someone? This is the Question of Direction. In this article, I explore the possibility of providing a Contractualist answer to the Question of Direction—one where the directedness of a directed duty is explained by the way in which that duty is derived in Contractualist moral reasoning. After presenting and rejecting three attempts at such an answer, I arrive at a satisfactory one: An agent has a duty to an individual to perform some action just in case and because, were the agent not to perform that action, the agent would make the individual occupy the standpoint relative to which any principle that permits the agent not to perform that action is unacceptable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1298-1316
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Journal of Philosophy
Issue number4
Early online date21 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


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