Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 15–29

The Embodiment Thesis

  • Jon Garthoff

DOI: 10.1023/B:ETTA.0000019983.64526.15

Cite this article as:
Garthoff, J. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice (2004) 7: 15. doi:10.1023/B:ETTA.0000019983.64526.15


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 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations