Cosmos + Taxis 5 (2):13-28 (2018)

David Wiens
University of California, San Diego
Debates on the practical relevance of ideal theory revolve around Sen's metaphor of navigating a mountainous landscape. In *The Tyranny of the Ideal*, Gerald Gaus presents the most thorough articulation of this metaphor to date. His detailed exploration yields new insight on central issues in existing debates, as well as a fruitful medium for exploring important limitations on our ability to map the space of social possibilities. Yet Gaus's heavy reliance on the navigation metaphor obscures questions about the reasoning by which ideal theories are justified. As a result, Gaus fails to notice the ways in which his theory of the Open Society resembles the ideal theories he aims to dismiss. Ironically, Gaus winds up neglecting the ways in which the Open Society might tyrannize our efforts to realize greater justice. (This article is part of a symposium on Gaus's *The Tyranny of the Ideal*.)
Keywords ideal theory  nonideal theory  Open Society  Gaus  normative justification  moral diversity
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Idea of Justice.Amartya Kumar Sen - 2009 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - Philosophy 52 (199):102-105.
Ideal Vs. Non‐Ideal Theory: A Conceptual Map.Laura Valentini - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (9):654-664.

View all 30 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Ideal Theory for a Complex World.Jeffrey Carroll - forthcoming - Res Publica:1-20.
The Neoliberal Turn: Libertarian Justice and Public Policy.Billy Christmas - 2020 - Journal des Economistes Et des Etudes Humaines 26 (1).

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Having a Reason and Distributive Justice in The Order of Public Reason.Elvio Baccarini - 2013 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 9 (1):25-51.
Appendixes.Gerald Gaus - 2016 - In The Tyranny of the Ideal: Justice in a Diverse Society. Princeton University Press. pp. 251-264.
Works Cited.Gerald Gaus - 2016 - In The Tyranny of the Ideal: Justice in a Diverse Society. Princeton University Press. pp. 265-278.
Can Rawls’s Nonideal Theory Save His Ideal Theory?Hye Ryoung Kang - 2016 - Social Theory and Practice 42 (1):32-56.
Can Rawls’s Non-Ideal Theory Save His Ideal Theory?Hye-Ryoung Kang - 2016 - Social Theory and Practice 42 (1):32-56.
On Justificatory Liberalism.Steven Wall - 2010 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 9 (2):123-149.
What We May Demand of Each Other.Simon Căbulea May - 2013 - Analysis 73 (3):554-563.


Added to PP index

Total views
438 ( #21,843 of 2,506,016 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
27 ( #33,293 of 2,506,016 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes