The Concept Of Ideal Theory Essay

1436 Words Oct 23rd, 2016 6 Pages
John Rawls, within his novel “Justice as Fairness”, presents the concept of ideal theory, one that will come to be contested by many scholars throughout history. Ideal theory is the ultimate state of what a society should strive for. These principles are formulated using an idealized reasoner, someone who can step back and ratify the injustices of society. Charles Mills, a twentieth-century philosopher, criticizes the claims Rawls makes under the rubric of ideal theory. Charles Mills contends that ideal theory “is really an ideology, a distortional complex of ideas, values, norms, and beliefs that reflect the nonrepresentative interests and experiences of a small minority of the national population–middle-to-upper-class white males– who are hugely over-represented in the professional philosophical population” He boils Rawls’s argument down to ideology, rather than concrete application. “What distinguishes ideal theory is the reliance on idealization to the exclusion, or at least marginalization, of the actual…ideal theory either tacitly represents the actual as a simple deviation from the ideal, not worth theorizing in its own right, or claims that starting from the ideal is at least the best way of realizing it.” This essay serves to defend Rawls against the criticisms of Mills through an analysis of his theory.

Ideal Theory Overview:
John Rawls, within Justice as Fairness, describes ideal theory as both ideal, and strict compliance theory. Ideal theory in…

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