The Feasibility Constraint on The Concept of Justice

Philosophical Quarterly 63 (252):445-464 (2013)
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Abstract
There is a widespread belief that, conceptually, justice cannot require what we cannot achieve. This belief is sometimes used by defenders of so-called ‘non-ideal theories of justice’ to criticise so-called ‘ideal theories of justice’. I refer to this claim as ‘the feasibility constraint on the concept of justice’ and argue against it. I point to its various implausible implications and contend that a willingness to apply the label ‘unjust’ to some regrettable situations that we cannot fix is going to enhance the action-guiding potential of a conception of justice, by providing an aspirational ideal. This is possible on the condition that, at all times, we cannot specify with certainty the limits of what is feasible for us collectively. The rejection of the feasibility constraint entails that there can be injustice without perpetrators; this is a theoretical price worth paying
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Archival date: 2015-04-06
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Motivational Limitations on the Demands of Justice.David Wiens - 2016 - European Journal of Political Theory 15 (3):333-352.
"Actual" Does Not Imply "Feasible".Nicholas Southwood & David Wiens - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (11):3037-3060.
Political Ideals and the Feasibility Frontier.David Wiens - 2015 - Economics and Philosophy 31 (3):447-477.
Against Ideal Guidance.David Wiens - 2015 - Journal of Politics 77 (2):433-446.
Facts, Principles, and Politics.Enzo Rossi - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (2):505-520.

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