Justice in the Family: A Defence of Feminist Contractarianism Academic Article uri icon


  • Society for Applied Philosophy, 2005. Jean Hampton argues that we can detect exploitation in personal relationships by thinking about what we would agree to were we to set aside the emotional benefits we receive from those relationships. Hampton calls her account feminist contractarianism, but it has recently been critiqued as decidedly un-feminist, on the grounds that it is hostile to womens interests and womens values. Furthermore, Hamptons requirement that we imaginatively distance ourselves from our emotional connections to our loved ones the key element in her contractarian test is simply ad hoc. In this essay, I will evaluate these objections and offer a new justification for Hamptons test. I conclude that feminist contractarianism is not only a useful tool for detecting exploitation in the family, it is also deserving of its feminist label.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Applied Philosophy

author list (cited authors)

  • RADZIK, L.

citation count

  • 6

publication date

  • January 2005