Hume’s theory of justice and Vanderschraaf’s Vulnerablity Objection

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In ‘Strategic Justice’, Vanderschraaf argues that many existing theories of justice as mutual advantage, including Hume’s, are not ‘proper accounts of justice’ because they deny the benefits of justice to people who are unable to contribute to the cooperative surplus. Vanderschraaf presents a model in which a practice of giving aid to vulnerable people can be a convention, and argues that this exemplifies justice as mutual advantage. I argue that this convention is not mutually advantageous. According to Hume’s theory, it creates moral obligations of humanity but not of justice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1719–1729
Number of pages11
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Issue number5
Early online date11 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Hume
  • Vanderschraaf
  • vulnerability objection
  • justice as mutual advantage

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