Motivational Limitations on the Demands of Justice

European Journal of Political Theory 15 (3):333-352 (2016)

David Wiens
University of California, San Diego
Do motivational limitations due to human nature constrain the demands of justice? Among those who say no, David Estlund offers perhaps the most compelling argument. Taking Estlund’s analysis of “ability” as a starting point, I show that motivational deficiencies can constrain the demands of justice under at least one common circumstance — that the motivationally-deficient agent makes a good faith effort to overcome her deficiency. In fact, my argument implies something stronger; namely, that the demands of justice are constrained by what people are sufficiently likely to be motivated to do. Thus, contrary to the prevailing wisdom, it is the business of ideal theory — not just nonideal theory — to work with the motivational capacities people are likely enough to have. (See also Estlund's reply in the same issue of EJPT and my rejoinder on Philpapers.)
Keywords ought implies can  feasibility  ideal and nonideal theory
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Reprint years 2016
DOI 10.1177/1474885115578446
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References found in this work BETA

Rescuing Justice and Equality.G. A. Cohen (ed.) - 2008 - Harvard University Press.
Ideal and Nonideal Theory.A. John Simmons - 2010 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 38 (1):5-36.
Utopophobia.David Estlund - 2014 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 42 (2):113-134.
I Ought, Therefore I Can.Peter B. M. Vranas - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 136 (2):167-216.
Human Nature and the Limits (If Any) of Political Philosophy.David Estlund - 2011 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 39 (3):207-237.

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Citations of this work BETA

"Actual" Does Not Imply "Feasible".Nicholas Southwood & David Wiens - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (11):3037-3060.
Will the Real Principles of Justice Please Stand Up?David Wiens - 2017 - In Kevin Vallier & Michael Weber (eds.), Political Utopias: Contemporary Debates. Oxford University Press.
Feasibility Four Ways.Alan Hamlin - 2017 - Social Philosophy and Policy 34 (1):209-231.
The Relevance of Human Nature.Nicholas Southwood - 2015 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 9 (3):1-9.

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