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Social Theory and Practice

Volume 42, Issue 4, October 2016

Brian Carey
Pages 748-766
DOI: 10.5840/soctheorpract201642426

Justice for Jerks
Human Nature, Selfishness, and Noncompliance

Recent debates about the relationship between ideal and nonideal theory have begun to focus on exploring the concept of political feasibility and the role that feasibility considerations should play in a theory of justice. In this article I argue that if there are facts that constrain what is feasible for human beings to motivate themselves to do, these facts ought to be understood as constraints on what justice can demand of us. I begin by explaining why our feasibility considerations must be sensitive to facts about motivational capacities. I then argue that taking motivational constraints seriously need not commit us to an overly concessive theory of justice.

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