Realistic Idealism and Classical Liberalism: Evaluating Free Market Fairness

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5 Citations (Scopus)


In Free Market Fairness, John Tomasi defends classical-liberal principles not because of real-world considerations but on ideal-theoretic grounds. However, what constitutes a sufficiently “ideal” ideal theory is debatable since, as Tomasi shows, regimes that range from laissez faire to heavily interventionist can all be classified as legitimate from the perspective of ideal theory. Conversely, if ideal theory can allow for realistic constraints, as Rawls does, then we should recognize that even under ideal-theoretic conditions, political actors face logistical, epistemic, and motivational challenges that only intensify in the real world, where questions of feasibility become paramount.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-407
Number of pages33
Issue number3-4
Early online date8 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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