Journal of Applied Philosophy 32 (2):147-162 (2015)

This article explores the role that considerations about the feasibility of a political proposal should play at the levels of both ideal and non-ideal theory. Drawing on recent work in the literature on political feasibility, I begin by describing a ‘constraint-based’ view of ideal and non-ideal theory, with feasibility considerations serving different functions depending on whether they are operating at the ideal or non-ideal level. Taking feasibility seriously at either level presents us with at least two important challenges. Firstly, we need principles which enable us to weigh the value of a proposal's feasibility against its other normatively significant properties, and against those of alternative proposals. Secondly, we need the capacity to gauge the nature of the epistemic constraints which apply to our feasibility assessments themselves. In response to these problems, I propose a ‘narrowing-down’ approach, focused on developing our capacities to make accurate and reliable judgements about the feasibility of political proposals
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/japp.12083
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,307
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Feasibility Constraints for Political Theories.Holly Lawford-Smith - 2010 - Dissertation, Australian National University
Political Ideals and the Feasibility Frontier.David Wiens - 2015 - Economics and Philosophy 31 (3):447-477.
The Feasibility Constraint on The Concept of Justice.Anca Gheaus - 2013 - Philosophical Quarterly 63 (252):445-464.
Understanding Political Feasibility.Holly Lawford-Smith - 2013 - Journal of Political Philosophy 21 (3):243-259.
Against Ideal Guidance.David Wiens - 2015 - Journal of Politics 77 (2):433-446.
Feasibility and Socialism.Pablo Gilabert - 2011 - Journal of Political Philosophy 19 (1):52-63.
Tragedies of Non-Ideal Theory.Robert Jubb - 2012 - European Journal of Political Theory 11 (3):229-246.
Assessing Ideal Theories: Lessons From the Theory of Second Best.David Wiens - 2016 - Politics, Philosophy, and Economics 15 (2):132-149.
Justifying Feasibility Constraints on Human Rights.Henning Hahn - 2012 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (2):143-157.


Added to PP index

Total views
52 ( #218,265 of 2,507,703 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #416,820 of 2,507,703 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes