Negative Perfectionism

Philosophy and Public Issues - Filosofia E Questioni Pubbliche 2 (1):101-122 (2012)
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In this essay I defend a variety of political perfectionism that I call negative perfectionism. Negative perfectionism is the position that if some design of the basic structure of society promotes objectively bad human living, then this should count as a reason against it. To give this hypothetical some bite, I draw on Rousseau’s diagnosis of the maladies of his society to defend two further claims: first, that some human lives are objectively bad, and, second, that some designs of the basic structure promote objectively bad human living. It follows that we have should avoid such designs of the basic structure, which means that negative political perfectionism presents true requirements of justice.

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Jeppe von Platz
University of Richmond


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