Ideal Theory and Its Fairness Role

Journal of Value Inquiry:1–16 (forthcoming)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The debate on ideal theory focuses mainly on whether it can provide a long-term target and a metric for assessing the justice of different institutional arrangements in non-ideal theory. Both critics and defenders of ideal theory typically overlook the role it plays in a model of fairness that can restrict the range of permissible arrangements under non-ideal conditions. In this paper, I explain ideal theory’s fairness role and its part in ensuring an institutional structure that benefits everyone in a society. Critics of ideal theory therefore cannot reject it as simply useless. But I consider how they can question the attractiveness of an ideal-theory-based fairness constraint on non-ideal theory.

Author's Profile

Lars Moen
University of Vienna


Added to PP

242 (#56,418)

6 months
128 (#21,829)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?