Chapter 7 Essay Questions
1. Describe in detail a prisoner’s dilemma situation and explain what makes the situation a prisoner’s dilemma. Does contractarianism provide a satisfying solution to prisoner’s dilemma situations? Defend your answer.
2. Explain the veil of ignorance. What work does the veil do for contractarianism? What do you think contractors would agree to from behind the veil? Do you think that this is a good approach to contractarianism? Why or why not?
3. Write an essay on the relation between self-interest and morality in contractarianism. What role does self-interest play in determining which moral standards are correct, according to the theory? Do contractarians think that it is always in our self-interest to behave morally? Why or why not?
4. What did Hobbes mean by the state of nature? What did he imagine life would be like in such a state? How did he suggest that people could get out of such a state? Do you agree with his assessment of the state of nature? Why or why not?
5. Describe Hobbes’s character of “the Fool.” How does the Fool raise a problem for contractarianism? What is Hobbes’s solution to this problem? Do you find it convincing? Defend your answers.