Parfit’s Triple Theory

I never cared much for Parfit’s Triple Theory. When I engaged with On What Matters (which I admittedly did very little), I was still too much of a consequentialist to be interested in this project.

I’ve since become more interested in contractualist framings of morality, in large part as a result of reading a lot about the history of humanity and cultural evolution and coming to see that morality—insofar as it exists—is a social technology that evolved to solve problems of cooperation and coordination.

From this perspective, integrating our three primary ethical frameworks—contractualism, consequentialism, and deontology—seems like a worthwhile exercise in self-understanding, even if the end result won’t be a robustly yet non-metaphysically real morality.

(Thoughts prompted by reading Levine et al’s Resource-rational contractualism: A triple theory of moral cognition)

February 14, 2024