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Justice in a Non-Ideal World

Gajevic Sayegh, A; (2017) Justice in a Non-Ideal World. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This doctoral thesis, titled Justice in a Non-Ideal World, explores the methodology and the content of a non-ideal theory of justice. It puts forward a methodology for theorising about politics according to which ideal theory does not have analytical primacy over non-ideal theory. Non-ideal theory is not a matter of implementing ideal principles, but rather a field of inquiry that seeks balance between moral values and real world considerations that constrain the realisation of justice. I argue that although there is value in ideal theorising, the specific task of guiding political action is better carried by non-ideal theory. This thesis highlighted the contribution of a non-ideal approach to our theorising about politics and explored the action guiding potential of non-ideal theory by identifying its defining features. This contribution is exemplified in the contexts of tax competition, climate justice and carbon pricing. This thesis explores ways through which the non-ideal theorist contributes to the normative weightlifting of political philosophy by gathering knowledge from other disciplines (in particular social sciences, economics, climate sciences) without presupposing ideal theory. I argue that non-ideal theorising provides not only non- normative supplementations to political theory, in terms of elements that counted as empirical and social scientific input, but also some of its core normative components. The problem this thesis sets out to fix is centrally a problem with the normative incompleteness of ideal theory. I found that non-ideal theory provides valuable insights to formulate an action guiding political theory – especially with regard to compliance, feasibility, fact-sensitivity and path dependence – in order to address issues such as tax competition, climate justice and carbon pricing, which require the collaboration of researchers across a range of disciplines.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Justice in a Non-Ideal World
Event: University College London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Political Philosophy, Ideal Theory, Non-Ideal Theory, Climate Justice, Tax Competition
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1541286
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