Let us suppose, as is plausible enough, that a set of rational bargainers will be motivated to do just this. Specifically, they will be motivated to accept a moral system that gives proper expression to their moral status as persons. The moral system they will be motivated to accept, I will argue, will of necessity be a moderate morality. It is because contractarianism, as opposed to the other available alternatives, provides such an easy way of justifying a system that expresses these moral goods (namely, by appealing to the motivations of the bargainers) that it seems the natural route to take when responding to Kagan’s general challenge to moderate morality – despite Kagan’s claim in his second challenge. I will explain more precisely what I mean by the claim that my bargainers desire to adopt a moral system that gives proper expression to their moral status as persons in my discussion of the bargainers’ motivations below. Also, I will have more to say about the precise way in which such a contractarian account leads to options, and thus to genuinely moderate morality, in chapter four.
It is clear, then, what my contractarian account must accomplish if it is to be successful in meeting Kagan’s specific challenges to the moderate from chapter four, and thus if it is to succeed as a response to Kagan’s overall challenge to the moderate in The Limits of Morality. If it is to meet Kagan’s first challenge, it must first of all be capable of grounding constraints and their principled exceptions in a common source. And secondly, my contractarian account must lead to a genuinely moderate morality – hence options – if it is to meet Kagan’s second challenge. This I hope to accomplish with the contractarian view I am about to lay out.