Social Theory and Practice

Volume 46, Issue 2, April 2020

Chad Van Schoelandt
Pages 417-440

Functionalist Justice and Coordination

This article lays out the “functionalist” view according to which justice is a social technology for adjudicating competing claims, then defends the claim that any functional principles of justice must effectively coordinate the expectations of diverse members of society. From there, it argues that within the functionalist framework there cannot be any adequate conception of justice for society’s basic institutional structure or constitution under conditions of reasonable pluralism. It concludes by discussing the theoretical place of emergent legal and constitutional principles within a functionalist theory.