Assessing Ideal Theories: Lessons from the Theory of Second Best

Politics, Philosophy, and Economics 15 (2):132-149 (2016)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Numerous philosophers allege that the "general theory of second best" (Lipsey and Lancaster, 1956) poses a challenge to the Target View, which asserts that real world reform efforts should aim to establish arrangements that satisfy the constitutive features of ideal just states of affairs. I demonstrate two claims that are relevant in this context. First, I show that the theory of second best fails to present a compelling challenge to the Target View in general. But, second, the theory of second best requires ideal theorists to undertake certain kinds of causal and comparative analyses that are typically thought to lie beyond the borders of conventional ideal theory.

Links

PhilArchive

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Against Ideal Guidance.David Wiens - 2015 - Journal of Politics 77 (2):433-446.
Tragedies of non-ideal theory.Robert Jubb - 2012 - European Journal of Political Theory 11 (3):229-246.
Three Failed Charges against Ideal Theory.Eva Erman & Niklas Möller - 2013 - Social Theory and Practice 39 (1):19-44.
A pragmatic analysis of idealizations in physics.William F. Barr - 1974 - Philosophy of Science 41 (1):48-64.
Prescribing Institutions Without Ideal Theory.David Wiens - 2012 - Journal of Political Philosophy 20 (1):45-70.
Race, ideology, and ideal theory.James Boettcher - 2009 - Metaphilosophy 40 (2):237-259.
Idealizing Morality.Lisa Tessman - 2010 - Hypatia 25 (4):797 - 824.
A Nonideal Theory of Justice.Marcus Arvan - 2008 - Dissertation, University of Arizona
Feasibility Constraints for Political Theories.Holly Lawford-Smith - 2010 - Dissertation, Australian National University

Analytics

Added to PP
2012-11-21

Downloads
1,030 (#6,980)

6 months
28 (#43,867)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

David Wiens
University of California, San Diego

References found in this work

Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - New York: Basic Books.
Rescuing Justice and Equality.G. A. Cohen (ed.) - 2008 - Harvard University Press.
Ideal vs. Non‐ideal Theory: A Conceptual Map.Laura Valentini - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (9):654-664.

View all 28 references / Add more references