Justice in Ideal Theory: A Refutation

Abstract

Political philosophers have recently begun to take seriously methodological questions concerning what a theoretical examination of political ideals is suppose to accomplish and how effective theorising in ideal theory is in securing those aims. Andrew Mason and G.A. Cohen, for example, believe that the fundamental principles of justice are logically independent of issues of feasibility and questions about human nature. Their position contrasts sharply with political theorists like John Dunn and Joseph Carens who believe that normative theorising must be integrated with an appreciation of the empirical realities of one’s society. Rather than bracket questions of feasibility and human nature, empirically-oriented political theorists believe that real, non- ideal considerations must be taken seriously when deriving normative theories of justice.1 And some justice-theorists, most notably John Rawls, attempt to.

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Colin Farrelly
Queen's University

Citations of this work

Normativity without Cartesian privilege.Amia Srinivasan - 2015 - Philosophical Issues 25 (1):273-299.
Realism against Legitimacy.Samuel Bagg - 2022 - Social Theory and Practice 48 (1):29-60.
Prescribing Institutions Without Ideal Theory.David Wiens - 2011 - Journal of Political Philosophy 20 (1):45-70.
Against Ideal Guidance.David Wiens - 2015 - Journal of Politics 77 (2):433-446.

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