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Equal Citizenship and Public ReasonA Feminist Political Liberalism$
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Christie Hartley and Lori Watson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190683023

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190683023.001.0001

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The Role of Ideal Theory

The Role of Ideal Theory

(p.15) 1 The Role of Ideal Theory
Equal Citizenship and Public Reason

Christie Hartley

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses whether political liberalism’s commitment to ideal theory makes it ill-suited for theorizing about justice for socially subordinated groups such as women and racial minorities. It is shown that political liberalism’s commitment to ideal theory does not entail assuming away race or gender as social categories that give rise to concerns about justice. Even within a politically liberal well-ordered (ideal) society racial or gender inequalities may arise due to the role that beliefs about race or gender play in some persons’ comprehensive doctrines. Furthermore, it is argued that theories of justice developed for a well-ordered politically liberal society provide important guidance for correcting injustices on the basis of gender and race in nonideal societies.

Keywords:   political liberalism, ideal theory, nonideal theory, gender, justice as fairness, well-ordered society, race, gender, reciprocity

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