How Do You Like Your Justice, Bent or Unbent?

Moral Philosophy and Politics 10 (2):285-297 (2023)
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Principles of justice, David Estlund argues, cannot be falsified by people’s unwillingness to satisfy them. In his Utopophobia, Estlund rejects the view that justice must bend to human motivation to deliver practical implications for how institutions ought to function. In this paper, I argue that a substantive argument against such bending of justice principles must challenge the reasons for making these principles sensitive to motivational limitations. Estlund, however, provides no such challenge. His dispute with benders of justice is therefore a verbal one over the true meaning of justice, which need not worry those with the intuition that justice should perform a function that requires bending. By focusing on John Rawls’s reasons for bending his justice principles, I point towards a substantive critique of bent justice.

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Lars Moen
University of Vienna

Citations of this work

Replies to Critics (on Utopophobia).David Estlund - 2023 - Moral Philosophy and Politics 2023 (2):321-336.

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References found in this work

A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
Justice as fairness: a restatement.John Rawls (ed.) - 2001 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
The idea of justice.Amartya Sen - 2009 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Verbal Disputes.David J. Chalmers - 2011 - Philosophical Review 120 (4):515-566.
The law of peoples.John Rawls - 1999 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Edited by John Rawls.

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