Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
John RawlsDebating the Major Questions$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Jon Mandle and Sarah Roberts-Cady

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190859213

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190859213.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 September 2020

The Value of Ideal Theory

The Value of Ideal Theory

Chapter:
(p.73) 4 The Value of Ideal Theory
Source:
John Rawls
Author(s):

Matthew Adams

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190859213.003.0007

This chapter delineates two types of ideal theory that are found in Rawls’s corpus of work. The first is ideal-method theory, which is theory constructed using idealizing assumptions that do not directly correspond with the actual world. The second is ideal-content theory, namely criteria for assessing whether something is a perfectly justice institution. The chapter provides an independent justification for both types of theory, arguing that ideal-method theory is valuable within certain parameters; for instance, the idealizing assumption of strict compliance helps to clarify the distinction between distributive and retributive justice. The chapter illuminates the value of ideal-content theory by clarifying and defending Rawls’s claim that nonideal theory depends on ideal-content theory. In particular, it argues that in order to gain a systematic grasp of the more pressing problems of nonideal theory it is plausible to argue that ideal-content theory is necessary.

Keywords:   ideal-method theory, ideal-content theory, strict compliance

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .