Procedural Justice and Affirmative Action

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (2):425-443 (2016)
  Copy   BIBTEX


There is widespread agreement among both supporters and opponents that affirmative action either must not violate any principle of equal opportunity or procedural justice, or if it does, it may do so only given current extenuating circumstances. Many believe that affirmative action is morally problematic, only justified to the extent that it brings us closer to the time when we will no longer need it. In other words, those that support affirmative action believe it is acceptable in nonideal theory, but not ideal theory. This paper argues that affirmative action is entirely compatible with equal opportunity and procedural justice and would be even in an ideal world. I defend a new analysis of Rawlsian procedural justice according to which it is permissible to interfere in the outcomes of procedures, and thus I show that affirmative action is not morally problematic in the way that many have supposed.

Similar books and articles

Rawlsian Affirmative Action.Robert S. Taylor - 2009 - Ethics 119 (3):476-506.
The Case Against Affirmative Action.Louis P. Pojman - 1998 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 12 (1):97-115.
Affirmative Inaction? The Aftermath of Grutter and Gratz.Richard A. Jones - 2004 - Radical Philosophy Review 7 (2):179-193.
Affirmative Action and the Demands of Justice.N. Scott Arnold - 1998 - Social Philosophy and Policy 15 (2):133.


Added to PP

1,091 (#10,051)

6 months
179 (#12,156)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Kristina Meshelski
California State University, Northridge

Citations of this work

Nonideal Justice as Nonideal Fairness.Marcus Arvan - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (2):208-228.
Affirmative action.Robert Fullinwider - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Nonideal Justice, Fairness, and Affirmative Action.Matthew Adams - 2021 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 20 (3).

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Against Rawlsian equality of opportunity.Richard J. Arneson - 1999 - Philosophical Studies 93 (1):77-112.
Equal treatment and compensatory discrimination.Thomas Nagel - 1973 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 2 (4):348-363.

Add more references