miércoles, 31 de agosto de 2016

PFHCSC: Semana 4, Teoría ideal y no ideal (Septiembre 1)

Semana 4: Ideal and Non-Ideal Theory

John Rawls´ Theory of Justice: Normative Ideal Theory: Works out a conception of justice in response to the human condition, which includes moderate scarcity and limited altruism (Rawls TJ: §22). Principles of justice serve the purpose of establishing how conflicting claims should be adjudicated; Different people have different needs, ends and goals, whose pursuit requires material resources. So principles of justice are normative because they determine how resources should be fairly distributed among people. They are ideal because the theory has two core assumptions: (i) all relevant agents comply with the demands of justice applying to them; and (ii) natural and historical conditions are favourable – i.e., society is sufficiently economically and socially developed to realize justice (Rawls TJ: 8, 215; Law of P: 4–6). According to Rawls Ideal and non-ideal theories must be related: non-ideal theory presupposes ideal theory, ‘[f]or until the ideal is identified, at least in outline … non-ideal theory lacks an objective, an aim, by reference to which its queries can be answered’ (Rawls Law of P: 90).

Central Problem: Most of the normative discussion about justice is set by John Rawls´ theory of justice. Some object this theory by its perceived inability to have an impact on real-world politics. Is the methodology of ideal theory appropriate for developing normative prescriptions for public institutions? Is there clarity about the proper nature of political philosophy (political theory) and its ability to guide action in real-world circumstances? In the end, is the dispute legitimate or are they talking past each other?
Central Thesis: There are three ways in which this discussion could be framed (see below).  Valentini believes that only (i) and (iii) make any sense. Non-ideal theory sets the scope of ideal as far as we frame issues of compliance and issues of political reform. In any case, even accepting the importance of (i) and (iii), “there is no right answer to the question of whether a normative political theory should be ‘ideal’ or ‘non-ideal’ (meaning more or less realistic). The types of idealizations that are appropriate, and what facts ought to be taken into account in the design of normative principles depend on the particular question the theory itself is meant to answer.” (662)

Semantics of the dispute

Types of subjects
Full compliance: Agents comply with the demands of justice (655)

Partial compliance: Agents act unjustly. So the problem becomes: ‘What ought we to do in circumstances where others do not do their part?’ There are three options

·         More than the fair share
·         Fair share
·         Less than the fair share

What duties and obligations apply to us in situations of partial compliance as opposed to situations of full compliance
Problems of partial compliance are important and inform ideal theory. But conditions are set by the particularities of cases (656). Individuals ought to do what is reasonably within their power to respond to existing injustice. So crucial task is to flesh out what the ‘reasonableness’
constraint amounts to (656).

Types of feasibility
Utopian: The main ‘job’ of the political philosopher is not to discover what we should do,
but rather to discover what we should ‘think’ (Cohen Rescuing: 268).
Realist: They focus in the circumstances of real politics rather than in the formal circumstances of justice (659). Alas, political philosophy should give much greater attention to existing power-structures, and drop implausibly optimistic assumptions about human nature, such as Rawlsian full compliance. Priority in politics shouldn’t be justice but rather order, security and peace.
More or less realistic: Either Rawls´ mistake is to neglect other political ideals like legitimacy, peace and security (while obsessing with justice); or Rawls’ mistake is his failure to take into account all those facts that are relevant to theorizing about justice as a real social ideal, encompassing the most important dimensions of political value.  

Should feasibility considerations constrain normative political theorizing? And, if so, what sorts of feasibility constraints should matter?
The dispute is not legitimate, as they are talking past each other: “whether a normative political theory is sufficiently ‘fact-sensitive ⁄ realistic’ or
not depends on its intended aim and question. This, in turn, suggests that the ‘debate’ between more or less realistic theories is somewhat misconstrued. Realists and Rawlsian liberals are not in disagreement about how to answer the same question. Rather, they seem to be more aptly seen as answering different questions. The former are looking for principles which are likely to be effective here and now, the latter seek to develop theories
capable of identifying the full extent to which the world in which we live is failing with respect to a grand social ideal.” (660)

Types of consequences from justice
End-state: sets out a long-term goal for institutional reform (660).
Reform and transition: ‘asks how this long-term goal might be achieved, or worked toward, usually in gradual steps’

Should normative political theory aim at identifying an ideal of societal perfection, or should it focus on transitional improvements without necessarily determining what the ‘optimum’ is?

Both positions have a point. On the one hand, Sen is correct in arguing that, strictly speaking, end-state
principles are not necessary to make justice-comparisons, and that comparisons allowing us to identify justice-improvements have not been given the attention they deserve. On the other hand, Simmons is probably right in insisting that ‘ideal’ normative considerations
should in part influence our choice of paths for justice-improvements (662).

Tarea: Leer con atención el artículo de Sleat sobre la diferencia entre justicia y legitimidad:

Contestar las siguientes preguntas:

1.       ¿En qué sentido para el pensamiento post-rawlseano justicia y legitimidad son lo mismo?
2.       ¿Por qué según Sleat confundir justicia con legitimidad ha sido terrible para el pensamiento liberal?
3.       ¿Qué es lo que hace tan particular o especial a la concepción de legitimidad (comparada con la de justicia)?

Otros Recursos:

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