Just constraints

Mason, Andrew (2004) Just constraints. British Journal of Political Science, 34, (2), 251-268. (doi:10.1017/S0007123404000043).


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Political theorists disagree about the extent to which issues of feasibility, stability, institutional design and human nature can be bracketed in analysing the concept of justice. At one end of the spectrum some argue that no analysis of justice can be adequate in the absence of an account of how it could be implemented, whereas at the other end there are those who argue that principles of justice are logically independent of issues of feasibility. Influenced by the work of John Rawls, many theorists occupy the middle ground, maintaining that analyses of justice must be realistic, that is, realizable under the best of foreseeable conditions. Against Rawls and others, this article argues that feasibility does not constrain what can count as an adequate principle of justice but nevertheless maintains that there are limits on such principles that derive in part from human nature, which divergent theories of justice must respect. It also distinguishes between different levels of analysis, some of which are governed by feasibility constraints.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1017/S0007123404000043
ISSNs: 0007-1234 (print)
Related URLs:
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Social Sciences > Politics and International Relations
ePrint ID: 33952
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 16 May 2006
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:00
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/33952

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