Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 325–338

Demands of Justice, Feasible Alternatives, and the Need for Causal Analysis


DOI: 10.1007/s10677-012-9347-6

Cite this article as:
Wiens, D. Ethic Theory Moral Prac (2013) 16: 325. doi:10.1007/s10677-012-9347-6


Many political philosophers hold the Feasible Alternatives Principle (FAP): justice demands that we implement some reform of international institutions P only if P is feasible and P improves upon the status quo from the standpoint of justice. The FAP implies that any argument for a moral requirement to implement P must incorporate claims whose content pertains to the causal processes that explain the current state of affairs. Yet, philosophers routinely neglect the need to attend to actual causal processes. This undermines their arguments concerning moral requirements to reform international institutions. The upshot is that philosophers’ arguments must engage in causal analysis to a greater extent than is typical.


Global justiceInternational institutionsFeasibilityCausal mechanismsMethodology

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PhilosophyAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia