The Feasibility Constraint on The Concept of Justice

Philosophical Quarterly 63 (252):445-464 (2013)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
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
No keywords specified (fix it)
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
Archival date: 2015-04-06
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
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.

View all 28 citations / Add more citations

Added to PP index

Total views
345 ( #9,409 of 42,348 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
25 ( #23,965 of 42,348 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.