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Social Theory and Practice


published on April 19, 2020

Jeffrey Carroll

In Defense of Strict Compliance as a Modeling Assumption

Rawlsian ideal theory has as its foundational assumption strict compliance with the principles of justice. Whereas Rawls employed strict compliance for his particular positive purpose, I defend the more general methodological point that strict compliance can be a permissible modeling assumption. Strict compliance can be assumed in a model that determines the most just set of principles, but such a model, while informative, is not straightforwardly action-guiding. I construct such a model and defend it against influential contemporary criticisms of models that assume strict compliance.

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