a1 Ohio State University
Hypothetical contractarians hold that justice is defined by a contract which would (rationally) be made in some specified situation. The characterization of this situation is a matter of great controversy. If it is taken to be our real-life situation, obvious counterexamples arise. Previous acts of predation may make rational an agreement which could hardly be called “just”. Various alternative characterizations have been offered with a variety of justifications. Still, this is a difficult point in contractarian theory.