Imperfection and Impartiality: A Liberal Theory of Social Justice

By Marcel Wissenburg | Go to book overview

4

The archpoint

The possibility of impartiality

I have defined minimal justice as the conception of justice that will be chosen or endorsed under conditions of impartiality, and have given a very broad definition of impartiality, one that appears to be the common denominator of liberal conceptions of justice. In this chapter, I shall defend a more precise and concise notion of impartiality.

How should we conceive of impartiality, given the impossibility of ethical absolutism? It cannot be 'anything goes'; under such circumstances there would no longer be moral or immoral ideas-only evaluative or normative fancies. Allowing each and every evaluative view leaves us with no point of view at all, not even one from which we can account for the 'anything goes' rule itself. Because anything goes, nothing goes: both the idea that every moral or immoral or amoral code is allowed, and the idea that none can be allowed as none can be justified, would be equally valid or-since anything goes-equally invalid.

I shall argue instead that impartiality is a negative although not a nihilistic notion. We are morally and intellectually situated, like it or not. We all have an evaluative point of view, even Camus's étranger. The intention behind introducing impartiality in theories of justice is to step away, as far as possible, from these particular points of view, without excluding their existence or without denying partiality and contingency. 22

One way not to do this is by simply asking real human beings to be impartial and to judge principles of justice. We might trust them to be impartial, but in this respect it is more secure to control them. In this chapter I shall discuss the side-constraints that should be posed on a justification procedure to ensure its impartiality, and the form best fit for representing such a procedure. As to the first part, this comes down to defining impartiality as, among other things, the point of view (the archpoint) at which one postpones judgement on the most

-54-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Imperfection and Impartiality: A Liberal Theory of Social Justice
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Part I 1
  • 1 - Introduction 3
  • Part II - The Archimedean Point 17
  • 2 - Justice in Society 19
  • 3 - Between Community and Nature 39
  • 4 - The Archpoint 54
  • 5 - Impartiality and Information 83
  • Part III - Principles of Distributive Justice 111
  • 6 - Dies Irae 113
  • 7 - Do We Not Bleed? 123
  • 8 - The Distribution of Rights 153
  • 9 - Equalisanda 183
  • 10 - Principles of Minimal Justice 197
  • Notes 222
  • References 228
  • Index 236
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 240

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.