consideration – cannot serve as our exclusive justification for options. But again, the self-interest-maximizing motive is not the only motive of which our bargainers will want to avail themselves. While the appeal to cost may be a partial but nonetheless legitimate component of our defense of options, let us see if a more successful and thorough grounding of this last component of moderate morality is available to us in the bargainers’ second motivation. II. The personhood-respecting motive and options
We may be tempted to ask ourselves first of all if options are even the sort of thing we need to justify in arguing for our moderate morality on the basis of the bargainers’ twofold motivation. For it may be objected that ‘options’ presuppose that there is something that needs to be opted out of in the first place. For Kagan, at least, there is a pro tanto reason to promote the overall good – a reason, he thinks, the moderate is committed to accepting.37 And so on his account, it is precisely the moderate’s acceptance of the pro tanto reason that necessitates her defense of options as part of her successful overall defense of moderate morality. But, we may think, we have been arguing so far on the basis of a particular conception of the bargainers’ motivation, and as we have conceived it, this motivation – particularly, the bargainers’ motivation to capture within the rules of the contract a certain ideal of the moral status of a person – is itself incompatible with the existence of the pro tanto reason to promote the greater overall good. This is so because our conception of the moral status of a person precludes persons’ being in any way merely instruments of serving the greater overall good. But the pro tanto reason to promote the overall good presupposes a picture of persons as primarily or exclusively recipients of benefits and services and sufferers of evils, and also as means thereby of maximizing the former and minimizing the latter. Thus, the argument might continue, our very defense of moderate morality has already, from the start, eliminated even the need to defend options; we will already have succeeded in defending moderate morality against the extremist, then, simply by grounding legitimate constraints in this conception of the moral status of a person.
But while it is true that our bargainers’ desire to preserve persons’ status as ends- in-themselves does preclude persons’ being conceived merely as instruments of the
See his arguments on pp. 48-52.