Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 15–29 | Cite as

The Embodiment Thesis

  • Jon Garthoff


In this essay I articulate and defend a thesis about the nature of morality called “the embodiment thesis”. The embodiment thesis states that moral values underdetermine the obligations and entitlements of individual persons, and that actual social institutions must embody morality by specifying these moral relations. I begin by presenting two thought experiments that elucidate and motivate the embodiment thesis. I then proceed by distinguishing the embodiment thesis from a Rawlsian doctrine about the nature of justice, from the doctrine of moral relativism, and from solutions to the coordination problem of rational choice theory.

basic structure of society coordination problem embodiment fairness John Rawls moral relativism moral values social institutions 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jon Garthoff
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUCLALos AngelesUSA

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