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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 Fractured Ideal

The Fractured Ideal

Searching with Diverse Perspectives

(p.105) Chapter III The Fractured Ideal
The Tyranny of the Ideal

Gerald Gaus

Princeton University Press

The previous chapter explored the deep dilemma at the heart of the “normalized” approach to ideal justice: the very normalization that defines the “correct” perspective in political philosophy leads to the conclusion that this correct perspective on justice cannot effectively identify its own ideal. This chapter analyzes ways to ease this tension—abandoning a fully normalized perspective in favor of various partial normalizations. It shows that when a partial normalization generated enough diversity to drive effective searching it ultimately engendered disagreement on the ideal itself. It would seem—at least on first inspection—that we must choose between full normalization, which yields a definite theory of justice but makes it most unlikely that we can find the ideal, and relaxing normalization, which improves the chances that many will find better alternatives, but which yields disagreement about what ideal justice is.

Keywords:   ideal justice, full normalization, political philosophy, partial normalization, normative theory, justice

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