Critical Notices/Études critiques

Justice Contracted*

L. W. Sumnera1

a1 University of Toronto

In the longrunning war between the friends of knowledge and their sceptical enemies the moral front has always been one of the busiest. Here the sceptic assails us in the guise of the cunning and resourceful amoralist who disavows all ethical constraints. Some philosophers, seeing no prospect of defeating the amoralist by rational methods, have fallen back on a policy of containment by means of social and political sanctions. But others of a more truculent frame of mind have continued to seek a decisive argumentative victory.


* David Gauthier, Morals by Agreement (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986), ix, 367. Page references to this book are enclosed in parentheses in the text. During the preparation of this critical notice I profited greatly from discussions with G. A. Cohen and Christopher Morris.