Ethics 119 (3):476-506 (2009)

Robert S. Taylor
University of California, Davis
My paper addresses a topic--the implications of Rawls's justice as fairness for affirmative action--that has received remarkably little attention from Rawls's major interpreters. The only extended treatments of it that are in print are over a quarter-century old, and they bear scarcely any relationship to Rawls's own nonideal theorizing. Following Christine Korsgaard's lead, I work through the implications of Rawls's nonideal theory and show what it entails for affirmative action: viz. that under nonideal conditions, aggressive forms of formal equality of opportunity (e.g., sensitivity training, outreach efforts, external monitoring and enforcement) and compensating support (e.g., special fellowship programs, childcare facilities, mentoring, co-op opportunities, etc.) can be justified, but that "hard" and even "soft" quotas are difficult to defend under any conditions. I conclude the paper by exploring the implications of these surprising results for contemporary liberalism more broadly and for constitutional law and public policy.
Keywords affirmative action  John Rawls
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DOI 10.1086/598170
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References found in this work BETA

If You're an Egalitarian, How Come You're so Rich.G. A. Cohen - 2000 - The Journal of Ethics 4 (1-2):1-26.
.Richard J. Arneson - 1999 - Blackwell.
Against Rawlsian Equality of Opportunity.Richard J. Arneson - 1999 - Philosophical Studies 93 (1):77-112.
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.
Rawls on Liberty and Domination.M. Victoria Costa - 2009 - Res Publica 15 (4):397-413.
Rawls and Racial Justice.D. C. Matthew - 2017 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 16 (3):235-258.

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