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The Tyranny of the IdealJustice in a Diverse Society$
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Gerald Gaus

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691183428

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691183428.001.0001

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The Allure of the Ideal

The Allure of the Ideal

Orienting the Quest for Justice

(p.1) Chapter I The Allure of the Ideal
The Tyranny of the Ideal

Gerald Gaus

Princeton University Press

This chapter identifies several different enduring models of utopian-ideal thought, arguing that one stands out as meriting closer investigation. It argues that this is an attractive understanding of utopian-ideal theory, that it makes sense of the theory's appeal, and why those such as Oscar Wilde thought ideals are a necessary part of any “map” of political reform. This understanding is broad enough to include a wide range of traditional utopian theory, as well as many current ideal theories. It also makes sense of many of the current facets of the ideal theory debate among contemporary philosophers, such as that between Amartya Sen and Rawls on the importance of ideals in pursuing justice.

Keywords:   utopian-ideal theory, political reform, utopian theory, Amartya Sen, John Rawls

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