Contractualism and risk preferences

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I evaluate two contractualist approaches to the ethics of risk: mutual constraint and the probabilistic, ex ante approach. After explaining how these approaches address problems in earlier interpretations of contractualism, I object that they fail to respond to diverse risk preferences in populations. Some people could reasonably reject the risk thresholds associated with these approaches. A strategy for addressing this objection is considering individual risk preferences, similar to those Buchak discusses concerning expected-utility approaches to risk. I defend the risk-preferences-adjusted (RISPREAD) contractualist approach, which calculates a population's average risk preference and permits risk thresholds below that preference, only.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEconomics and Philosophy
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy
  • Economics and Econometrics


  • contractualism
  • risk
  • risk-weighted expected utility (REU) theory
  • Scanlon


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