David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Political Philosophy 20 (1):45-70 (2012)
It is conventional wisdom among political philosophers that ideal principles of justice (i.e., principles that would regulate the constitutions of fully just institutional arrangements) must guide our attempts to design institutions to avert actual injustice. Call this the ideal guidance approach. I argue that this view is misguided—ideal principles of justice are not appropriate "guiding principles" that actual institutions must aim to realize, even if only approximately. Fortunately, the conventional wisdom is also avoidable. In this paper, I develop an alternative approach to institutional design, which I call institutional failure analysis. The basic intuition of this approach is that our moral assessment of institutional proposals is most effective when we proceed from a detailed understanding of the causal processes generating problematic social outcomes. Failure analysis takes the institutional primary design task to be obviating or averting institutional failures. Consequently, failure analysis enables theorists to prescribe more effective solutions to actual injustice because its focuses on understanding the injustice, rather than specifying an ideal of justice.
|Keywords||ideal theory nonideal theory institutional design failure analysis|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Through your library||Configure|
References found in this work BETA
Geoffrey Brennan & Philip Pettit (2005). The Feasibility Issue. In Frank Jackson & Michael Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy. Oxford University Press. 258--279.
Allen E. Buchanan (2004). Justice, Legitimacy, and Self-Determination: Moral Foundations for International Law. Oxford University Press.
G. A. Cohen (2003). Facts and Principles. Philosophy and Public Affairs 31 (3):211–245.
Tyler Cowen (2007). The Importance of Defining the Feasible Set. Economics and Philosophy 23 (1):1-14.
John Dewey (1927/1991). The Public and its Problems. Swallow Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Laura Valentini (2012). Ideal Vs. Non-Ideal Theory: A Conceptual Map. Philosophy Compass 7 (9):654-664.
Simon Caney (2012). Addressing Poverty and Climate Change: The Varieties of Social Engagement. Ethics and International Affairs 26 (2):191-216.
Similar books and articles
David Wiens (forthcoming). Achieving Global Justice: Why Failures Matter More Than Ideals. In Kate Brennan (ed.), Making Global Institutions Work: Power, Accountability and Change. Routledge.
Simon Caney (2006). Cosmopolitan Justice and Institutional Design. Social Theory and Practice 32 (4):725-756.
Lisa Tessman (2010). Idealizing Morality. Hypatia 25 (4):797 - 824.
Shane J. Ralston (2010). Can Pragmatists Be Institutionalists? John Dewey Joins the Non-Ideal/Ideal Theory Debate. Human Studies 33 (1):65-84.
Hye-Ryoung Kang (2008). Idealized Non-Ideal Justice Theory in Law of Peoples. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 25:37-44.
David Wiens (2011). Engineering Global Justice: Achieving Success Through Failure Analysis. Dissertation, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (UM)
Hye-Ryoung Kang (2008). A Critique of “Idealized” Non-Ideal Justice Theory in Rawls' Laws of People. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 50:299-308.
Marcus Arvan (2008). A Nonideal Theory of Justice. Dissertation, University of Arizona
Anne van Aaken (2002). Deliberative Institutional Economics, or Does Homo Oeconomicus Argue?: A Proposal for Combining New Institutional Economics with Discourse Theory. Philosophy and Social Criticism 28 (4):361-394.
Eva Erman & Niklas Möller (2013). Three Failed Charges Against Ideal Theory. Social Theory and Practice 39 (1):19-44.
Added to index2011-02-15
Total downloads57 ( #22,827 of 1,088,378 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #20,058 of 1,088,378 )
How can I increase my downloads?