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Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy, Volume 2$
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David Sobel, Peter Vallentyne, and Steven Wall

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198759621

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198759621.001.0001

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Just and Juster

Just and Juster

Chapter:
(p.8) (p.9) 1 Just and Juster
Source:
Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy, Volume 2
Author(s):

David Estlund

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198759621.003.0002

This chapter argues, against Amartya Sen, that while a comparative theory of justice in terms only of “more just” but not “just” or “unjust” would suffice for purposes of choice, it is a disadvantage that it would not find any legitimate meaning in the statement that slavery is unjust, since that judgment entails a partition. The chapter argues that there are not sufficiently good reasons for paying that price. Even if such further “partition” information is of no use for purposes of choice over and above comparative information, this does not establish that a wholly comparative theory of justice is adequate—even for purposes of choice. The reason is that epistemology might favor the richer measure, delivering a partitioned scale, or at least partition-entailing judgments, in the first instance. A wholly comparative conception of justice would limit itself to impoverished resources, and for no good reason.

Keywords:   ideal theory, non-ideal theory, justice, Sen, comparative justice, threshold justice

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