Ethics and Global Politics 7 (3):95-117 (2014)

Authors
Marcus Arvan
University of Tampa
Abstract
Theorists have long debated whether John Rawls’ conception of justice as fairness can be extended to nonideal (i.e. unjust) social and political conditions, and if so, what the proper way of extending it is. This paper argues that in order to properly extend justice as fairness to nonideal conditions, Rawls’ most famous innovation – the original position – must be reconceived in the form of a “nonideal original position.” I begin by providing a new analysis of the ideal/nonideal theory distinction within Rawls’ theoretical framework. I then systematically construct a nonideal original position, showing that although its parties must have Rawls’ principles of ideal justice and priority relations as background aims, the parties should be entirely free to weigh those aims against whatever burdens and benefits they might face under nonideal conditions. Next, I show that the parties ought to aim to secure for themselves a special class of nonideal primary goods: all-purpose goods similar to Rawls’ original primary goods, but which in this case are all-purpose goods individuals might use to (A) promote Rawlsian ideals under nonideal conditions, (B) weigh Rawls’ principles of ideal justice and priority relations against whatever burdens and benefits they might face under nonideal conditions, and (C) effectively pursue their most favored weighting thereof. I then defend a provisional list of nonideal primary goods which include opportunities to participate effectively in equitable and inclusive grassroots reform movements guided by a series of substantive aims. Finally, I briefly speculate on how the parties to the nonideal original position might deliberate to principles of nonideal justice for distributing nonideal primary goods, suggesting that those goods should be distributed in proportion to unjust disadvantage.
Keywords justice  fairness  Rawls  ideal  nonideal  injustice  progress
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.3402/egp.v7.22609
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Ideal Vs. Non‐Ideal Theory: A Conceptual Map.Laura Valentini - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (9):654-664.
Ideal and Nonideal Theory.A. John Simmons - 2010 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 38 (1):5-36.
What Do We Want From a Theory of Justice?Amartya Sen - 2006 - Journal of Philosophy 103 (5):215-238.
An Egalitarian Law of Peoples.Thomas W. Pogge - 1994 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 23 (3):195-224.

View all 8 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Downward Mobility and Rawlsian Justice.Govind Persad - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (2):277-300.
Rawls and Racial Justice.D. C. Matthew - 2017 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 16 (3):235-258.
Material Scarcity and Scalar Justice.Matthew Adams & Ross Mittiga - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

A Nonideal Theory of Justice.Marcus Arvan - 2008 - Dissertation, University of Arizona
Rawlsian Affirmative Action.Robert S. Taylor - 2009 - Ethics 119 (3):476-506.
Sen on Rawls's “Transcendental Institutionalism”: An Analysis and Critique.Alan Thomas - 2014 - European Journal of Political Theory 13 (3):241-263.
Global Justice and Poverty Relief in Nonideal Circumstances.Pablo Gilabert - 2008 - Social Theory and Practice 34 (3):411-438.
Ideal and Nonideal Theory: A Conceptual Overview.Milica Trifunovic - 2013 - Filozofija I Društvo 24 (2):151-173.
Against Ideal Guidance.David Wiens - 2015 - Journal of Politics 77 (2):433-446.
Idealizing Morality.Lisa Tessman - 2010 - Hypatia 25 (4):797 - 824.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2014-02-07

Total views
1,049 ( #3,645 of 2,385,845 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
44 ( #16,492 of 2,385,845 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes