Economics Dictionary of Arguments

Home Screenshot Tabelle Begriffe

Perfectionism: Perfectionism in political philosophy advocates for societal goals or values aiming at achieving an ideal conception of human excellence or flourishing. It asserts that governments should actively promote specific conceptions of the good life, fostering conditions that enable individuals to reach their highest potential. See also Society, Perfection, Politics.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Joseph Raz on Perfectionism - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 416
Perfectionsm/Raz/Weinstein: For Raz following the new liberals, rights equalize opportunities for acting autonomously. Rights are necessary though insufficient conditions for achieving autonomy.
Furthermore, these conditions must be redistributively robust if citizens are to enjoy meaningful opportunities to make the best of themselves. Cf. >Self-realization/Hobhouse.
Hence, as with new liberals (and liberal utilitarians), rights indirectly promote good. Governments can't make citizens good but governments should indirectly encourage them to make themselves good by providing appropriate opportunities. Hence, politics can, and should be, perfectionist:
‚The autonomy principle permits and even requires governments to create morally valuable opportunities, and to eliminate repugnant ones. Does not that show that it is incompatible with (Mill's) harm principle? ...
Perfectionist goals need not be pursued by the use of coercion. A government that subsidizes certain activities, rewards their pursuit, and advertises their availability encourages those activities without using coercion.‘ (1986(1): 417)
Weinstein: In other words, we are duty bound to provide fellow citizens with the conditions of autonomy as long as we don't harm them. Coercing citizens into leading valuable lives harms them whereas providing valuable options for all harms no one.

1. Raz, Joseph (1986) The Morality of Freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Weinstein, David 2004. „English Political Theory in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Raz, Joseph
Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004

Send Link
> Counter arguments against Raz
> Counter arguments in relation to Perfectionism

Authors A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   Z  

Concepts A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   Z