How many idealizing assumptions may we make when doing political philosophy? May we assume our citizens more rational than they are, or our governments more efficient than in reality? These questions lie at the center of the debate between ideal and non-ideal theorists. Ideal theorists believe it permissible to engage in counterfactual assumptions about citizens and states when doing political philosophy, and non-ideal theorists think the opposite. In this paper, I will argue against a particular defense of ideal theory given by David Estlund, who argues that the low probability that a standard of justice will be met does not count against that standard’s plausibility. I will claim that we should reject this principle because if we do not, we will be committed to the view that no state is justified at all.
First Advisor Department
Second Advisor Department
Kanwischer, William, "Politics for Angels" (2020). Honors Projects. 560.