Will the Real Principles of Justice Please Stand Up?

In Kevin Vallier & Michael Weber (eds.), Political Utopias: Contemporary Debates. Oxford University Press (2017)
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Abstract

This chapter develops a ``nesting'' model of deontic normative principles (i.e., principles that specify moral constraints upon action) as a means to understanding the notion of a ``fundamental normative principle''. I show that an apparently promising attempt to make sense of this notion such that the ``real'' or ``fundamental'' demands of justice upon action are not constrained by social facts is either self-defeating or relatively unappealing. We should treat fundamental normative principles not as specifying fundamental constraints upon action, but as specifying basic criteria for comparatively evaluating and ranking possibilities.

Author's Profile

David Wiens
University of California, San Diego

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