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is balanced out by, or likely outweighed by, everything I most certainly will lose to all my advantage-seeking neighbors. And this same plight of course goes for everybody. Being rational, then, we would all agree not to engage in stealing, lying, harming, killing, and so forth, provided everyone else refrains from these activities as well. It is the contractarian’s contention, then, that moral rules derive their normative force from the fact that they are the ones we would agree to in such a situation. Such, then, is the contractarian account of the origin of the standard restrictions against harming, lying, and stealing. These restrictions, we have just seen, can be founded in my bargainers’ self- interest-maximizing motive alone. B. The trade-off

In addition to the restrictions considered above, though, the bargainers’ first motive will lead them to adopt certain sorts of principled exceptions to these restrictions. For consider this interesting feature of contractarian scenarios, which we have already considered briefly: the bargainers in the social-contract setting are negotiating with each other to see which restrictions they will adopt and adhere to as a preferable alternative to living in the state of nature, a condition which we have already seen to be detrimental to all parties. The restrictions that will be agreed upon, then, are adapted and suited to conditions encountered in the state of nature. It is inevitable, however, that these conditions will change somewhat once the community enters a state of society. Obviously, one of the new conditions that the bargainers can expect to encounter in this new, more civilized setting is that they can expect a change in the motives of their fellows. No longer will their neighbors be the purely-self-interest-maximizing agents that they were in the pre-social-contract condition; rather, they will be agents who, though still self-interested, will pursue their own well-being under the restraints imposed upon them by the restrictions to which they’ve agreed. However, it seems almost as obvious to expect that in the new civilized state, they can expect something else as well: a host of free-riders who will recognize the new opportunities that such a state of civilization affords, and will seek to profit at others’ expense by ignoring the restrictions on advantage to which they had agreed, all the while expecting others to remain committed to them. Such a situation, it is important to note, can only arise once a community has agreed mutually to adhere to a set of advantage-overriding constraints; these free-riders


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