Social Philosophy and Policy 30 (1-2):330-351 (2013)

Justin Weinberg
University of South Carolina
Must principles of justice be practical? Some political philosophers, the “implementers,” say yes. Others, the “idealists,” say no. Despite this disagreement, the implementers and idealists agree on what “practical” means, subscribing to the “implementation-prediction” conception of practicality. They also seem to agree that principles of so-called “ideal theory” need not be IP-practical. The implementers take this as a reason to reject ideal theory as an approach to principles of justice, while the idealists do not. In this paper, I argue that we should reject the IP conception of practicality. The implementers make a mistake, then, by requiring principles of justice to be IP-practical. But the idealists make a mistake, too, by rejecting in general the requirement that principles of justice be practical. For there is a plausible alternative conception of practicality that political philosophers should accept: the “experimentation-learning” conception. EL-practicality makes for a more realistic and epistemically accessible standard of practicality, and thus should be welcomed by the realistically-inclined implementers. It also preserves a crucial role for ideal theory, so should be welcomed by the idealists, too.
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DOI 10.1017/s0265052513000162
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References found in this work BETA

Rescuing Justice and Equality.G. A. Cohen (ed.) - 2008 - Harvard University Press.
A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
Ideal Vs. Non‐Ideal Theory: A Conceptual Map.Laura Valentini - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (9):654-664.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Rationality of Political Experimentation.Gregory Robson - 2020 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 20 (1):67-98.
Justice and International Trade.Helena de Bres - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (10):570-579.
Markets Within the Limit of Feasibility.Kenneth Silver - forthcoming - Journal of Business Ethics:1-15.
Two Underappreciated Reasons to Value Political Tradition.Gregory Robson - 2020 - Journal of Value Inquiry 54 (4):519-538.

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