Social Theory and Practice


published on October 1, 2019

C. M. Melenovsky

The Value of a Non-Ideal

In The Tyranny of the Ideal, Gerald Gaus gives an extended argument on behalf of the “Open Society.” Instead of claiming that it is uniquely best from some privileged moral perspective, he argues for the Open Society by showing why it is acceptable to many perspectives. In this way, Gaus argues for a liberal market-based society in a way that treats deep diversity as a fundamental feature of social life. However, the argument falters at four important points. When taken together, these four problems significantly limit the significance of Gaus’s conclusions.