Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (2):425-443 (2016)

Kristina Meshelski
California State University, Northridge
There is widespread agreement among both supporters and opponents that affirmative action either must not violate any principle of equal opportunity or procedural justice, or if it does, it may do so only given current extenuating circumstances. Many believe that affirmative action is morally problematic, only justified to the extent that it brings us closer to the time when we will no longer need it. In other words, those that support affirmative action believe it is acceptable in nonideal theory, but not ideal theory. This paper argues that affirmative action is entirely compatible with equal opportunity and procedural justice and would be even in an ideal world. I defend a new analysis of Rawlsian procedural justice according to which it is permissible to interfere in the outcomes of procedures, and thus I show that affirmative action is not morally problematic in the way that many have supposed.
Keywords Affirmative action  John Rawls  Procedural justice  Nonideal theory  Race  Quotas  Pure procedural justice
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Reprint years 2016
DOI 10.1007/s10677-015-9633-1
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References found in this work BETA

Equal Treatment and Compensatory Discrimination.Thomas Nagel - 1973 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 2 (4):348-363.

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Citations of this work BETA

Nonideal Justice as Nonideal Fairness.Marcus Arvan - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (2):208-228.
Affirmative Action.Robert Fullinwider - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Nonideal Justice, Fairness, and Affirmative Action.Matthew Adams - 2021 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 20 (3).

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