A Defense of Nonideal Theories of Justice / Uma Defesa de Teorias de Justiça Não Ideais

Daniela Goya Tocchetto


Abstract: The overwhelming majority of contemporary theories of justice is grounded in the rationalist tradition (Frazer, 2010). As a consequence, political philosophers such as John Rawls (1971) have interpreted moral systems as axiomatic, substantially based on concepts of inalienable rights and duties—usually guided by the core value attached to human dignity. Once ethicists started working under an axiomatic framework, empirical evidence has become less and less useful. This road has been conducive to the current prevalence of ideal theories in the field. On a dissonant note, recent debate in political philosophy has rekindled our attention to the development of nonideal theories of justice. Yet before one argues in favor of nonideal (or comparative) theories of justice, one has to be certain that all arguments against the broader incorporation of empirical evidence in the development of political philosophical theories are not valid. Therefore the focus of the present paper is the assessment—and dismissal—of these arguments.

Keywords: Theories of Justice; Nonideal Theories; Empirical Evidence; Methodology

Resumo: A grande maioria das teorias de justiça contemporâneas se baseiam na tradição racionalista (Frazer, 2010). Como consequência, filósofos políticos como John Rawls (1971) têm interpretado sistemas morais como axiomáticos, baseados substancialmente em conceitos de direitos e deveres inalienáveis – geralmente guiados pelo valor central concedido à dignidade humana. Uma vez que os eticistas começaram a utilizar uma moldura axiomática, as evidências empíricas se tornaram cada vez menos úteis. Esse caminho foi relevante para a atual prevalência de teorias ideais nesse campo. De maneira dissonante, o debate recente na filosofia política reacendeu a atenção para o desenvolvimento de teorias de justiça não ideais. Contudo, antes que alguém argumente em favor de teorias de justiça não ideais (ou comparativas), é preciso estar certo de que todos os argumentos contrários a uma incorporação mais ampla de evidências empíricas no desenvolvimento de teorias políticas filosóficas não são válidos. Portanto, o foco deste artigo é a avaliação – e rejeição – destes argumentos.

Palavras-chave: Teorias de justiça; Teorias não ideais; Evidência empírica; Metodologia.


Theories of Justice; Nonideal Theories; Empirical Evidence; Methodology

Texto completo:



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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17808/des.47.599


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