Artificial Morality is a method for providing a fundamental justification for moral constraint. It shares this goal with David Gauthier’s Morals by Agreement. ‘We are committed to showing why an individual, reasoning from non-moral premises, would accept the constraints of a morality on his choices.’ 1 In this chapter I use the goal of fundamental justification to focus my argument by choosing its starting points. Fundamental justification leads us to the compliance problem as a crucial problem and to games as the best models of this problem.
This chapter also defines Artificial Morality in terms of two contrasts. First, Artificial Morality is closely related to contractarianism so I contrast my approach with the well-known contractarian theories of Hobbes, Rawls and Gauthier. Second, Artificial Morality uses games somewhat differently from the theory of games.
The idea of a fundamental justification—a justification of a realm that does not appeal to any of the concepts of that realm—has enormous philosophical appeal. 2 The easiest way to argue for fundamental justification is to consider the alternatives. In general, anything short of a fundamental justification of morality, by assuming some moral premise(s), begs the central question of ethical theory. I realize that many philosophers think that begging this question is necessary. It may be that ethics is not possible unless one assumes the automony of the field. Or it may be that some moral premise is deeply true of human beings. Perhaps, but notice that both of these methodological moves make strong claims and should be seen to do so. I am inclined to