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Nonideal Ethics

  1. Eduardo Rivera-López

Published Online: 1 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444367072.wbiee638

The International Encyclopedia of Ethics

How to Cite

Rivera-López, E. 2013. Nonideal Ethics. The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 FEB 2013


Our world is far from ideal: people kill, steal, and harm others; governments initiate unjust wars; material resources are sometimes scarce or unjustly distributed; and millions of people suffer extreme deprivation from social or natural causes. Any adequate moral theory should be sensitive to these unfortunate facts. It seems obvious that the best or most appropriate actions, rules, and institutions in this nonideal world are different from what they would be in an ideal one. I briefly delineate some problems that ethics and political philosophy face when dealing with imperfect moral agents and institutions.


  • ethics;
  • philosophy