Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Political perfectionism is the view that one primary task of the state is to promote the good life. This view is as much about the good as it is about the state. It presupposes an objective conception of the good in the sense that a person's life is worthwhile if it exhibits a certain objective goodness or qualities not reducible to the person's own subjective likes or preferences. As such, political perfectionism is closely associated with ethical perfectionism. Historically, ethical perfectionism has defended the view that the good life consists of realizing a certain goodness inherent in human nature, such as certain intellectual or ethical faculties and virtues that are thought to be distinctively and essentially human. On this view, ethical perfectionism is about perfecting human nature, hence the term perfectionism. However, there are contemporary proponents of ethical perfectionism who do not subscribe to such a human nature-centered account perfectionism ...