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Title: Rectifying wrongs : the problem of historical injustice
Author: Vaca Paniagua, M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2732 2499
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis is concerned with the problem of rectification in the theory of justice. We are faced with examples of great historical injustice over the last few centuries. A proper regard for the demands of rectification seems required of us in the face of the overwhelming importance that victims place on it; without it, no society can hope to sustain mutual respect among its citizens, the non-victims and the victims, nor probably foster the self-respect of the victims. I argue that the problem of rectification poses a distinctive and fundamental problem for classical theories of justice and specifically for John Rawls’s account of justice-as-fairness. Defenders of Rawls might claim, first, that rectification falls outside the scope of his theory of justice, since that is intended as ideal theory, and thus formulated against the fictional assumption that no historical wrongs have taken place. In this view, rectification is a concern of real political theory but not of ideal theory of justice. I argue that this defence is mistaken. Secondly, defenders of Rawls who concede that rectification is a proper part of the ideal theory of justice might claim that the principles of justice-as-fairness provide a basis for determining the extent to which justice requires rectification of wrongs. This too, I argue, is mistaken. In light of the demands that rectification places on us, I propose an alternative picture of equality as conceived of within the liberal tradition.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available