Philosophical Quarterly 63 (252):445-464 (2013)

Authors
Anca Gheaus
Central European University
Abstract
There is a widespread belief that, conceptually, justice cannot require what we cannot achieve. This belief is sometimes used by defenders of so-called ‘non-ideal theories of justice’ to criticise so-called ‘ideal theories of justice’. I refer to this claim as ‘the feasibility constraint on the concept of justice’ and argue against it. I point to its various implausible implications and contend that a willingness to apply the label ‘unjust’ to some regrettable situations that we cannot fix is going to enhance the action-guiding potential of a conception of justice, by providing an aspirational ideal. This is possible on the condition that, at all times, we cannot specify with certainty the limits of what is feasible for us collectively. The rejection of the feasibility constraint entails that there can be injustice without perpetrators; this is a theoretical price worth paying
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DOI 10.1111/1467-9213.12058
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References found in this work BETA

Realism in Political Theory.William A. Galston - 2010 - European Journal of Political Theory 9 (4):385-411.
The Value of Philosophy in Nonideal Circumstances.Adam Swift - 2008 - Social Theory and Practice 34 (3):363-387.
Feasibility and Socialism.Pablo Gilabert - 2011 - Journal of Political Philosophy 19 (1):52-63.
Debate: Ideal Theory—A Reply to Valentini.Holly Lawford-Smith - 2010 - Journal of Political Philosophy 18 (3):357-368.

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Citations of this work BETA

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.
Against Ideal Guidance.David Wiens - 2015 - Journal of Politics 77 (2):433-446.
Political Ideals and the Feasibility Frontier.David Wiens - 2015 - Economics and Philosophy 31 (3):447-477.
Facts, Principles, and (Real) Politics.Enzo Rossi - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (2):505-520.
Motivational Limitations on the Demands of Justice.David Wiens - 2016 - European Journal of Political Theory 15 (3):333-352.

View all 36 citations / Add more citations

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