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  1. A World of Possibilities: The Place of Feasibility in Political Theory.Eva Erman & Niklas Möller - 2019 - Res Publica 26 (1):1-23.
    Although the discussion about feasibility in political theory is still in its infancy, some important progress has been made in the last years to advance our understanding. In this paper, we intend to make a contribution to this growing literature by investigating the proper place of feasibility considerations in political theory. A motivating force behind this study is a suspicion that many presumptions made about feasibility in several current debates—such as that between practice-independence and practice-dependence, ideal and non-ideal theory, and (...)
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  • Love and Justice: A Paradox?Anca Gheaus - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (6):739-759.
    Three claims about love and justice cannot be simultaneously true and therefore entail a paradox: (1) Love is a matter of justice. (2) There cannot be a duty to love. (3) All matters of justice are matters of duty. The first claim is more controversial. To defend it, I show why the extent to which we enjoy the good of love is relevant to distributive justice. To defend (2) I explain the empirical, conceptual and axiological arguments in its favour. Although (...)
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  • Political Irrationality, Utopianism, and Democratic Theory.Aaron Ancell - forthcoming - Politics, Philosophy and Economics:1470594X1988910.
    People tend to be biased and irrational about politics. Should this constrain what our normative theories of democracy can require? David Estlund argues that the answer is ‘no’. He contends that even if such facts show that the requirements of a normative theory are very unlikely to be met, this need not imply that the theory is unduly unrealistic. I argue that the application of Estlund’s argument to political irrationality depends on a false presupposition: mainly, that being rational about politics (...)
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  • The Best and the Rest: How Ideals Mislead and Distort -- Yet Sharpen -- Comparative Evaluation.David Wiens - manuscript
    Political philosophers sometimes defend the value of idealistic normative theories by arguing that they help specify principles for evaluating feasible solutions to real-world problems. I start by showing that this defense is ambiguous between three interpretations, one of which I show to be a nonstarter. The second interpretation says (roughly) that a description of a normatively ideal society provides a benchmark from which to measure deviations from the ideal; the third says (again, roughly) that a description of a normatively ideal (...)
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  • Justice, Feasibility, and Ideal Theory: A Pluralist Approach.Andrew Mason - 2016 - Social Philosophy and Policy 33 (1-2):32-54.
    :A qualified pluralism is defended that recognizes value in a variety of forms of political theory and resists arguments that purport to show that one particular approach should occupy a privileged position. Against realists, it is argued that abstract analyses of political values that bracket a wide range of facts about people and their circumstances can be both coherent and important, whereas against those who think “ideal theory” or the identification of ultimate principles should come first, it is argued that (...)
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  • Against Institutional Conservatism.David V. Axelsen - 2019 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 22 (6):637-659.
  • The Natural Duty of Justice in Non-Ideal Circumstances: On the Moral Demands of Institution Building and Reform.Laura Valentini - 2017 - European Journal of Political Theory:147488511774209.
    Principles of distributive justice bind macro-level institutional agents, like the state. But what does justice require in non-ideal circumstances, where institutional agents are unjust or do not e...
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  • Feasibility as a Constraint on ‘Ought All-Things-Considered’, But Not on ‘Ought as a Matter of Justice’?Nicholas Southwood - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (276):598-616.
    It is natural and relatively common to suppose that feasibility is a constraint on what we ought to do all-things-considered but not a constraint on what we ought to do as a matter of justice. I show that the combination of these claims entails an implausible picture of the relation between feasibility and desirability given an attractive understanding of the relation between what we ought to do as a matter of justice and what we ought to do all-things-considered.
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  • Political Ideals and the Feasibility Frontier.David Wiens - 2015 - Economics and Philosophy 31 (3):447-477.
    Recent methodological debates regarding the place of feasibility considerations in normative political theory are hindered for want of a rigorous model of the feasibility frontier. To address this shortfall, I present an analysis of feasibility that generalizes the economic concept of a production possibility frontier and then develop a rigorous model of the feasibility frontier using the familiar possible worlds technology. I then show that this model has significant methodological implications for political philosophy. On the Target View, a political ideal (...)
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  • Against Ideal Guidance.David Wiens - 2015 - Journal of Politics 77 (2):433-446.
    Political philosophers frequently claim that political ideal can provide normative guidance for unjust and otherwise nonideal circumstances. This is mistaken. This paper demonstrates that political ideals contribute nothing to our understanding of the normative principles we should satisfy amidst unjust or otherwise nonideal circumstances.
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  • 'Going Evaluative' to Save Justice From Feasibility -- A Pyrrhic Victory.David Wiens - 2014 - Philosophical Quarterly 64 (255):301-307.
    I discuss Gheaus's (2013) argument against the claim that the requirements of justice are not constrained by feasibility concerns. I show that the general strategy exemplified by this argument is not only dialectically puzzling, but also imposes a heavy cost on theories of justice -- puzzling because it simply sidesteps a presupposition of any plausible formulation of the so-called "feasibility requirement"; costly because it it deprives justice of its normative implications for action. I also show that Gheaus's attempt to recover (...)
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  • Gender and Distributive Justice.Anca Gheaus - forthcoming - In Serena Olsaretti (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Distributive Justice. Oxford University Press.
    This chapter discusses gender in relation to the most influential current accounts of distributive justice. There are various disparities in the benefits and burdens of social cooperation between women and men. Which of these, if any, one identifies as indicative of gender injustice will depend on the theory of distributive justice that one endorses. Theoretical decisions concerning the role of personal responsibility, the goods whose distribution is relevant for justice, and the site of justice - institutions-only or individual behaviour, too (...)
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  • Will the Real Principles of Justice Please Stand Up?David Wiens - 2017 - In Kevin Vallier & Michael Weber (eds.), Political Utopias: Contemporary Debates. Oxford University Press.
    This chapter develops a ``nesting'' model of deontic normative principles (i.e., principles that specify moral constraints upon action) as a means to understanding the notion of a ``fundamental normative principle''. I show that an apparently promising attempt to make sense of this notion such that the ``real'' or ``fundamental'' demands of justice upon action are not constrained by social facts is either self-defeating or relatively unappealing. We should treat fundamental normative principles not as specifying fundamental constraints upon action, but as (...)
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  • "Actual" Does Not Imply "Feasible".Nicholas Southwood & David Wiens - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (11):3037-3060.
    The familiar complaint that some ambitious proposal is infeasible naturally invites the following response: Once upon a time, the abolition of slavery and the enfranchisement of women seemed infeasible, yet these things were actually achieved. Presumably, then, many of those things that seem infeasible in our own time may well be achieved too and, thus, turn out to have been perfectly feasible after all. The Appeal to History, as we call it, is a bad argument. It is not true that (...)
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  • Justice and Feasibility: A Dynamic Approach.Pablo Gilabert - 2017 - In K. Vallier & M. Weber (eds.), Political Utopias: Contemporary Debates. Oxford University Press. pp. 95-126.
    It is common in political theory and practice to challenge normatively ambitious proposals by saying that their fulfillment is not feasible. But there has been insufficient conceptual exploration of what feasibility is, and very little substantive inquiry into why and how it matters for thinking about social justice. This paper provides one of the first systematic treatments of these issues, and proposes a dynamic approach to the relation between justice and feasibility that illuminates the importance of political imagination and dynamic (...)
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  • Proxy Battles in the Ethics of War.Seth Lazar & Laura Valentini - 2017 - In David Sobel, Peter Vallentyne & Steven Wall (eds.), Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy, Volume 3. London, U.K.: Oxford University Press.
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  • Motivational Limitations on the Demands of Justice.David Wiens - 2016 - European Journal of Political Theory 15 (3):333-352.
    Do motivational limitations due to human nature constrain the demands of justice? Among those who say no, David Estlund offers perhaps the most compelling argument. Taking Estlund’s analysis of “ability” as a starting point, I show that motivational deficiencies can constrain the demands of justice under at least one common circumstance — that the motivationally-deficient agent makes a good faith effort to overcome her deficiency. In fact, my argument implies something stronger; namely, that the demands of justice are constrained by (...)
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  • Mentalizing Animals: Implications for Moral Psychology and Animal Ethics.T. J. Kasperbauer - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (2):465-484.
    Ethicists have tended to treat the psychology of attributing mental states to animals as an entirely separate issue from the moral importance of animals’ mental states. In this paper I bring these two issues together. I argue for two theses, one descriptive and one normative. The descriptive thesis holds that ordinary human agents use what are generally called phenomenal mental states to assign moral considerability to animals. I examine recent empirical research on the attribution of phenomenal states and agential states (...)
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  • Humanity, Virtue, Justice: A Framework for a Capability Approach.Benjamin James Bessey - unknown
    This Thesis reconsiders the prospects for an approach to global justice centring on the proposal that every human being should possess a certain bundle of goods, which would include certain members of a distinctive category: the category of capabilities. My overall aim is to present a clarified and well-developed framework, within which such claims can be made. To do this, I visit a number of regions of normative and metanormative theorising. I begin by introducing the motivations for the capability approach, (...)
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  • II- What's Wrong with Being Lonely? Justice, Beneficence, and Meaningful Relatopnships.Laura Valentini - 2016 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 90 (1):49-69.
    A life without liberty and material resources is not a good life. Equally, a life devoid of meaningful social relationships—such as friendships, family attachments, and romances—is not a good life. From this it is tempting to conclude that just as individuals have rights to liberty and material resources, they also have rights to access meaningful social relationships. I argue that this conclusion can be defended only in a narrow set of cases. ‘Pure’ social relationship deprivation—that is, deprivation that is not (...)
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  • Feasibility: Individual and Collective.Zofia Stemplowska - 2016 - Social Philosophy and Policy 33 (1-2):273-291.
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  • Justice, Feasibility, and Social Science as It Is.Emily McTernan - 2019 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (1):27-40.
    Political philosophy offers a range of utopian proposals, from open borders to global egalitarianism. Some object that these proposals ought to be constrained by what is feasible, while others insist that what justice demands does not depend on what we can bring about. Currently, this debate is mired in disputes over the fundamental nature of justice and the ultimate purpose of political philosophy. I take a different approach, proposing that we should consider which facts could fill out a feasibility requirement. (...)
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  • Global Democracy and Feasibility.Eva Erman - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-21.
    While methodological and metatheoretical questions pertaining to feasibility have been intensively discussed in the philosophical literature on feasibility and justice in recent years, these discussions have not permeated the debate on global democracy. The overall aim in this paper is to demonstrate the fruitfulness of importing some of the advancements made in this literature into the debate on global democracy as well as to develop aspects that are relevant for explaining the role of feasibility in normative political theory. This is (...)
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  • Nonideal Theory and Compliance—A Clarification.Naima Chahboun - 2015 - European Journal of Political Theory 14 (2):229-245.
    This paper examines the various ways in which nonideal theory responds to noncompliance with ideal principles of justice. Taking Rawls’ definition of nonideal theory as my point of departure, I propose an understanding of this concept as comprising two subparts: Complementary nonideal theory responds to deliberate and avoidable noncompliance and consists mainly of theories of civil disobedience, rebellion, and retribution. Substitutive nonideal theory responds to nondeliberate and unavoidable noncompliance and consists mainly of theories of transition and caretaking. I further argue (...)
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  • Facts, Principles, and Politics.Enzo Rossi - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (2):505-520.
    Should our factual understanding of the world influence our normative theorising about it? G.A. Cohen has argued that our ultimate normative principles should not be constrained by facts. Many others have defended or are committed to various versions or subsets of that claim. In this paper I dispute those positions by arguing that, in order to resist the conclusion that ultimate normative principles rest on facts about possibility or conceivability, one has to embrace an unsatisfactory account of how principles generate (...)
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  • Three Feasibility Constraints on the Concept of Justice.Naima Chahboun - 2017 - Res Publica 23 (4):431-452.
    The feasibility constraint on the concept of justice roughly states that a necessary condition for something to qualify as a conception of justice is that it is possible to achieve and maintain given the conditions of the human world. In this paper, I propose three alternative interpretations of this constraint that could be derived from different understandings of the Kantian formula ‘ought implies can’: the ability constraint, the motivational constraint and the institutional constraint. I argue that the three constraints constitute (...)
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  • Adaptive Ideals and Aspirational Goals: The Utopian Ideals and Realist Constraints of Climate Change Adaptation.Patrik Baard - 2015 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 28 (4):739-757.
    There is a growing need to implement anticipatory climate change adaptation measures, particularly in vulnerable sectors, such as in agriculture. However, setting goals to adapt is wrought with several challenges. This paper discusses two sets of challenges to goals of anticipatory adaptation, of empirical and normative character. The first set of challenges concern issues such as the extent to which the climate will change, the local impacts of such changes, and available adaptive responses. In the second set of uncertainties are (...)
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  • Distributive Justice, Feasibility Gridlocks, and the Harmfulness of Economic Ideology.Lisa Herzog - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (5):957-969.
    Many political theorists think about how to make societies more just. In recent years, with interests shifting from principles to their institutional realization, there has been much debate about feasibility and the role it should play in theorizing. What has been underexplored, however, is how feasibility depends on the attitudes and perceptions of individuals, not only with regard to their own behaviour, but also with regard to the behaviour of others. This can create coordination problems, which can be described as (...)
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  • The Feasibility Issue.Nicholas Southwood - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (8):e12509.
    It is commonly taken for granted that questions of feasibility are highly relevant to our normative thinking – and perhaps especially our normative thinking about politics. But what exactly does this preoccupation with feasibility amount to, and in what forms if any is it warranted? This article aims to provide a critical introduction to, and clearer characterization of, the feasibility issue. I begin by discussing the question of how feasibility is to be understood. I then turn to the question of (...)
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