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Unfreedom for AllHow the World's Injustices Harm You$
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Thomas J. Donahue

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190051686

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190051686.001.0001

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The Diagnostics of Injustice

The Diagnostics of Injustice

(p.27) 1 The Diagnostics of Injustice
Unfreedom for All

Thomas J. Donahue-Ochoa

Oxford University Press

Chapter 1 argues that careful diagnosis of injustices is central to understanding what to do about them. This requires differential diagnosis: the comparative assessment of different diagnoses of injustice. Yet present-day political theory treats such diagnostics as only a marginal task, even though past political theory considered it central. Chapter 1 undermines this marginalization, by tracing it to the tradition begun by John Rawls and its faulty practice of non-ideal theory. It argues that by the tradition’s own principles, non-ideal theory cannot succeed without such diagnostics. The chapter then recuperates such diagnostics by describing the leading theories of systematic injustice. These theories constitute the closest thing we have to a nosology (the classification of diseases) and pathology (the study of disease in general) of systematic injustice. If we wish to see political theory once again take seriously the differential diagnosis of injustices, then it will have to take these theories seriously.

Keywords:   diagnosing injustice, comparative injustices, assessing injustice, differential diagnosis, non-ideal theory, partial compliance theory, remedies for injustice, John Rawls, theories of injustice, theories of oppression

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