The feasibility issue

Nicholas Southwood*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)


    It is commonly taken for granted that questions of feasibility are highly relevant to our normative thinking—and perhaps especially our normative thinking about politics. But what exactly does this preoccupation with feasibility amount to, and in what forms if any is it warranted? This article aims to provide an opinionated introduction to, and clearer characterisation of, the feasibility issue. I begin by discussing the question of how feasibility is to be understood. I then turn to the question of feasibility's role, suggesting that there are two quite different kinds of role questions that may be at play, though they are often run together: a question about feasibility's normative significance; and a question about its proper use in informing our normative thinking. Finally, I consider how the feasibility issue differs from certain other related issues: the demandingness issue; the issue of whether “ought” implies “can”; and the “ideal versus non-ideal theory” issue.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere12509
    JournalPhilosophy Compass
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


    Dive into the research topics of 'The feasibility issue'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this