Justice Through Trust: Disability and the 'Outlier Problem' in Social Contract Theory

20 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2009

See all articles by Anita Silvers

Anita Silvers

San Francisco State University - Department of Philosophy

Leslie P. Francis

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law

Date Written: October 2005

Abstract

Viewed as a bargain among equals for reciprocal advantage, social contract theory has been criticized as ignoring outliers such as persons with disabilities. Critics such as Martha Nussbaum have contended that the idea of a social contract must be abandoned in favor of other ways of modeling justice. This article contends that the problem lies in modeling social contract justifications as bargaining for mutual advantage. The insight of social contract theory rests on the importance of respect for individuals with differing conceptions of their good. Reconceptualizing contract theory in terms of building trust relationships fosters inclusiveness and respect.

Suggested Citation

Silvers, Anita and Francis, Leslie P., Justice Through Trust: Disability and the 'Outlier Problem' in Social Contract Theory (October 2005). Ethics, Vol. 116, No. 1, pp. 40-77, 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1517408

Anita Silvers

San Francisco State University - Department of Philosophy ( email )

1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132
United States

Leslie P. Francis (Contact Author)

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )

383 S. University Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States

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