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Document Details :
Title: De rol en beperkingen van ideaaltheorieën van rechtvaardigheid
Author(s): ROBEYNS, Ingrid
Journal: Tijdschrift voor Filosofie
Volume: 71 Issue: 1 Date: 2009
Role and Limits of Ideal Theories of Justice
In a recent article Amartya Sen has argued that ideal theories of justice are neither necessary nor sufficient for advancing justice in a society. This article investigates the more radical part of Sen’s claim, that ideal theories are redundant for justice-enhancing social change. The analysis starts from a simple typology of different types of normative social justice research, which distinguished ideal theory, non-ideal theory, and the design and implementation of actions and practices. Based on this typology it is argued that ideal theory is often necessary for the development of justice-enhancing strategies, and that the comparative approach which Sen proposes is not always giving sufficient guidance for moving towards a just society. Yet at the same time the spirit of Sen’s critique on ideal theories of justice is legitimate. The literature on theories of justice in analytical political philosophy would indeed benefit from a shift in focus to non-ideal issues.