Economics and Philosophy 1 (1):39-67 (1985)

Moral philosophers are fond of the dictum “ought implies can” and even deontologists normally admit the need to take account of consequences in the design of social institutions. Too often, however, philosophers fail to take advantage of the knowledge provided by the social sciences about the constraints and consequences of alternative forms of social organization. By discussing ideals in abstraction from the problems of institutionalization, they fail at least to see some of the important consequences and costs of a proposed ideal, and sometimes they fail even to understand the ideal itself.
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DOI 10.1017/S0266267100001887
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