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Abstract

This dissertation aims at greater justice in society by addressing questions of moral and institutional existence. In particular, this work focuses on the contributions to ethical thought made by the philosophy of Paul Ricoeur. Ricoeur’s “ethical aim” makes the just institution a central component of the ethical life. By appealing to key elements in the theory of structuration developed by Anthony Giddens, I will restructure Ricoeur’s initial “ethical aim” around the idea that institutions are constituted by practices carried out by individual actors. This restructuring will bring to the fore the capabilities that individuals have, based on numerous contingent factors that bear consideration in attempts at creating just institutions. Further applying Anthony Giddens social theory to Ricoeur’s ethical aim, I will argue for the institutional ordering of resources according to the capabilities of agents. The just institution will be shown to be the one that provides resources first to those of most limited capability.

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