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Justice, Care, and the Welfare State$
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Daniel Engster

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198719564

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198719564.001.0001

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Justice, Care, and the Welfare State

(p.1) 1 Introduction
Justice, Care, and the Welfare State

Daniel Engster

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the crisis of contemporary welfare states and the need for a new non-ideal theory of justice to address it. Many existing welfare policies have fallen out-of-step with the social and economic conditions of post-industrial countries and need to be reformed. Normative political philosophers have largely failed to discuss contemporary welfare state reform, or public policy more generally, due to a fixation on ideal justice theories. This chapter explores the distinction in political philosophy between ideal and non-ideal justice theories and argues for the importance of developing a non-ideal justice theory to help guide contemporary welfare state reform. It further suggests that care ethics represents an especially valuable resource for developing a non-ideal theory of welfare state justice due to the fact that many of the problems facing people in post-industrial societies today are problems relating to care (childcare, care for the elderly, and so forth).

Keywords:   welfare state, public policy, justice, care ethics, ideal theory, non-ideal theory

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