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Equality and Responsibility

Edited by Theron Pummer (Oxford University, University of California, San Diego)
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  1. A. Albertsen & C. Knight (forthcoming). A Framework for Luck Egalitarianism in Health and Healthcare. Journal of Medical Ethics.
    Several attempts have been made to apply the choice-sensitive theory of distributive justice, luck egalitarianism, in the context of health and healthcare. This article presents a framework for this discussion by highlighting different normative decisions to be made in such an application, some of the objections to which luck egalitarians must provide answers and some of the practical implications associated with applying such an approach in the real world. It is argued that luck egalitarians should address distributions of health rather (...)
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  2. Alison Bailey (2001). Taking Responsibility for Community Violence. In Peggy DesAutels & JoAnne Waugh (eds.), FEMINISTS DOING ETHICS.
    This article examines the responses of two communities to hate crimes in their cities. In particular it explores how community understandings of responsibility shape collective responses to hate crimes. I use the case of Bridesberg, Pennsylvania to explore how anti-racist work is restricted by backward-looking conceptions of moral responsibility (e.g. being responsible). Using recent writings in feminist ethics.(1) I argue for a forward-looking notion that advocates an active view: taking responsibility for attitudes and behaviors that foster climates in which hate (...)
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  3. Thom Brooks (ed.) (2011). Ethics and Moral Philosophy. Brill.
    Ethics and moral philosophy is an area of particular interest today. This book brings together some of the most important essays in this area.
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  4. Kenneth M. Ehrenberg (1999). Social Structure and Responsibility. Loyola Poverty Law Journal 5:1-26.
    We now live in a world with unprecedented possibilities. Technology is quickly reaching the point at which it will be within our grasp to cure any ailment: medical, psychological, or social. Yet we are already falling behind in the curative use of our newfound abilities. With our new technologies we have it within our means to feed the world and to eradicate sicknesses common only in developing countries. However, the use of these *2 abilities is governed by a social system (...)
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  5. David Fagelson (1999). Rights And Duties. Law And Inequality 17 (1):171.
  6. Keith Hyams (2013). Equality, Responsibility, and the Balance of Interests. Journal of Social Philosophy 44 (4):392-401.
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  7. Carl Knight (2013). Luck Egalitarianism. Philosophy Compass 8 (10):924-934.
    Luck egalitarianism is a family of egalitarian theories of distributive justice that aim to counteract the distributive effects of luck. This article explains luck egalitarianism's main ideas, and the debates that have accompanied its rise to prominence. There are two main parts to the discussion. The first part sets out three key moves in the influential early statements of Dworkin, Arneson, and Cohen: the brute luck/option luck distinction, the specification of brute luck in everyday or theoretical terms and the specification (...)
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  8. Carl Knight (2013). Egalitarian Justice and Expected Value. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (5):1061-1073.
    According to all-luck egalitarianism, the differential distributive effects of both brute luck, which defines the outcome of risks which are not deliberately taken, and option luck, which defines the outcome of deliberate gambles, are unjust. Exactly how to correct the effects of option luck is, however, a complex issue. This article argues that (a) option luck should be neutralized not just by correcting luck among gamblers, but among the community as a whole, because it would be unfair for gamblers as (...)
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  9. Carl Knight (2013). Benefiting From Injustice and Brute Luck. Social Theory and Practice 39 (4):581-598.
    Many political philosophers maintain that beneficiaries of injustice are under special obligations to assist victims of injustice. However, the examples favoured by those who endorse this view equally support an alternative luck egalitarian view, which holds that special obligations should be assigned to those with good brute luck. From this perspective the distinguishing features of the benefiting view are (1) its silence on the question of whether to allocate special obligations to assist the brute luck worse off to those who (...)
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  10. Carl Knight (2012). Distributive Luck. South African Journal of Philosophy 31 (2):541-559.
    This article explores the Rawlsian goal of ensuring that distributions are not influenced by the morally arbitrary. It does so by bringing discussions of distributive justice into contact with the debate over moral luck initiated by Williams and Nagel. Rawls’ own justice as fairness appears to be incompatible with the arbitrariness commitment, as it creates some equalities arbitrarily. A major rival, Dworkin’s version of brute luck egalitarianism, aims to be continuous with ordinary ethics, and so is (a) sensitive to non-philosophical (...)
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  11. Carl Knight (2012). In Defence of Global Egalitarianism. Journal of Global Ethics 8 (1):107-116.
    This essay argues that David Miller's criticisms of global egalitarianism do not undermine the view where it is stated in one of its stronger, luck egalitarian forms. The claim that global egalitarianism cannot specify a metric of justice which is broad enough to exclude spurious claims for redistribution, but precise enough to appropriately value different kinds of advantage, implicitly assumes that cultural understandings are the only legitimate way of identifying what counts as advantage. But that is an assumption always or (...)
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  12. Carl Knight (2011). Inequality, Avoidability, and Healthcare. Iyyun 60:72-88.
    This review article of Shlomi Segall's Health, Luck, and Justice (Princeton University Press, 2010) addresses three issues: first, Segall’s claim that luck egalitarianism, properly construed, does not object to brute luck equality; second, Segall’s claim that brute luck is properly construed as the outcome of actions that it would have been unreasonable to expect the agent to avoid; and third, Segall’s account of healthcare and criticism of rival views. On the first two issues, a more conventional form of luck egalitarianism (...)
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  13. Carl Knight (2011). Responsibility, Desert, and Justice. In Carl Knight & Zofia Stemplowska (eds.), Responsibility and Distributive Justice. Oxford University Press.
    This chapter identifies three contrasts between responsibility-sensitive justice and desert-sensitive justice. First, while responsibility may be appraised on prudential or moral grounds, it is argued that desert is necessarily moral. As moral appraisal is much more plausible, responsibility-sensitive justice is only attractive in one of its two formulations. Second, strict responsibility sensitivity does not compensate for all forms of bad brute luck, and forms of responsibility-sensitive justice like luck egalitarianism that provide such compensation do so by appealing to independent moral (...)
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  14. Carl Knight (2010). Justice and the Grey Box of Responsibility. Theoria 57 (124):86-112.
    Even where an act appears to be responsible, and satisfies all the conditions for responsibility laid down by society, the response to it may be unjust where that appearance is false, and where those conditions are insufficient. This paper argues that those who want to place considerations of responsibility at the centre of distributive and criminal justice ought to take this concern seriously. The common strategy of relying on what Susan Hurley describes as a 'black box of responsibility' has the (...)
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  15. Carl Knight (2009). Egalitarian Justice and Valuational Judgment. Journal of Moral Philosophy 6 (4):482-498.
    Contemporary discussions of egalitarian justice have often focused on the issue of expensive taste. G.A. Cohen has recently abandoned the view that all chosen disadvantages are non-compensable, now maintaining that chosen expensive judgmental tastes—those endorsed by valuational judgment—are compensable as it is unreasonable to expect persons not to develop them. But chosen expensive brute taste—the main type of non-compensable expensive taste on the new scheme—cannot be described in such a way that there is a normative difference between it and chosen (...)
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  16. Carl Knight (2009). Luck Egalitarianism: Equality, Responsibility, and Justice. Edinburgh University Press.
    How should we decide which inequalities between people are justified, and which are unjustified? One answer is that such inequalities are only justified where there is a corresponding variation in responsible action or choice on the part of the persons concerned. This view, which has become known as 'luck egalitarianism', has come to occupy a central place in recent debates about distributive justice. This book is the first full length treatment of this significant development in contemporary political philosophy. Each of (...)
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  17. Carl Knight (2008). A Pluralistic Approach to Global Poverty. Review of International Studies 34 (4):713-33.
    A large proportion of humankind today lives in avoidable poverty. This article examines whether affluent individuals and governments have moral duties to change this situation. It is maintained that an alternative to the familiar accounts of transdomestic distributive justice and personal ethics put forward by writers such as Peter Singer, John Rawls, and Thomas Pogge is required, since each of these accounts fails to reflect the full range of relevant considerations. A better account would give some weight to overall utility, (...)
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  18. Carl Knight (2006). The Metaphysical Case for Luck Egalitarianism. Social Theory and Practice 32 (2):173-189.
    Some critics of luck egalitarianism have suggested that its reference to responsibility leaves it either assuming metaphysical libertarianism or (in the inevitable absence of a resolution of the free will problem) practically impotent. This paper argues that luck egalitarianism need not fall into either trap. It may in fact be sensitive to the possibility that libertarianism is false, and would not be undermined were this the case. Here luck egalitarianism actually fares better than outcome egalitarianism, which assumes, in just the (...)
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  19. Carl Knight (2005). In Defence of Luck Egalitarianism. Res Publica 11 (1):1-10.
    This paper considers issues raised by Elizabeth Anderson's recent critique of the position she terms luck egalitarianism. It is maintained that luck egalitarianism, once clarified and elaborated in certain regards, remains the strongest egalitarian stance. Anderson's arguments that luck egalitarians abandon both the negligent and prudent dependent caretakers fails to account for the moderate positions open to luck egalitarians and overemphasizes their commitment to unregulated market choices. The claim that luck egalitarianism insults citizens by redistributing on the grounds of paternalistic (...)
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  20. Carl Knight & Zofia Stemplowska Carl (2011). Responsibility and Distributive Justice: An Introduction. In Carl Knight & Zofia Stemplowska (eds.), Responsibility and Distributive Justice. Oxford University Press.
    This introductory chapter provides an overview of the recent debate about responsibility and distributive justice. It traces the recent philosophical focus on distributive justice to John Rawls and examines two arguments in his work which might be taken to contain the seeds of the focus on responsibility in later theories of distributive justice. It examines Ronald Dworkin's ‘equality of resources’, the ‘luck egalitarianism’ of Richard Arneson and G. A. Cohen, as well as the criticisms of their work put forward by (...)
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  21. Carl Knight & Roger Knight (2012). Equality and Information. Ethical Perspectives 19 (3):469-499.
    Traditional outcome-orientated egalitarian principles require access to information about the size of individual holdings. Recent egalitarian political theory has sought to accommodate considerations of responsibility. Such a move may seem problematic, in that a new informational burden is thereby introduced, with no apparent decrease in the existing burden. This article uses a simple model with simulated data to examine the extent to which outcome egalitarianism and responsibility-sensitive egalitarianism (‘luck egalitarianism’) can be accurately applied where information is incomplete or erroneous. It (...)
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  22. Carl Knight & Zofia Stemploska (eds.) (2011). Justice and Responsibility. Oxford University Press.
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  23. Carl Knight & Zofia Stemplowska (eds.) (2011). Responsibility and Distributive Justice. Oxford University Press.
    Under what conditions are people responsible for their choices and the outcomes of those choices? How could such conditions be fostered by liberal societies? Should what people are due as a matter of justice depend on what they are responsible for? For example, how far should healthcare provision depend on patients' past choices? What values would be realized and which hampered by making justice sensitive to responsibility? Would it give people what they deserve? Would it advance or hinder equality? The (...)
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  24. Matthew Lister (2012). Review of Carl Knight, Luck Egalitarianism. [REVIEW] Journal of Moral Philosophy 9 (1):127-30.
  25. Ryan Long (2011). The Incompleteness of Luck Egalitarianism. Social Philosophy Today 27:87-96.
    Luck egalitarianism makes a fundamental distinction between inequalities for which agents are responsible and inequalities stemming from luck. I give several reasons to find luck egalitarianism a compelling view of distributive justice. I then argue that it is an incomplete theory of equality. Luck egalitarianism lacks the normative resources to achieve its ends. It is unable to specify the prior conditions under which persons are situated equivalently such that their choices can bear this tremendous weight. This means that luck egalitarians (...)
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  26. Arthur Ripstein, Justice and Responsibility.
    My aim in this paper is to consider the conception of responsibility that is appropriate to the enforcement of standards of justice, both distributive and corrective. I will defend what I will call a reciprocity conception of responsibility, which supposes that responsibility must be understood in terms of norms governing what people are entitled to expect of each other. If I have sole responsibility to look out for myself, or for some interests of yours, then I am not entitled to (...)
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  27. Marco Solinas (2009). Review of Richard Sennett, The Culture of the New Capitalism. [REVIEW] Humana.Mente 10:151-153.
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  28. Peter Vallentyne (2008). Brute Luck and Responsibility. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 7 (1):57-80.
    The concept of agent-responsibility for an outcome (that is, of the outcome reflecting the autonomous choice of the agent) is central to both ethics and political philosophy. The concept, however, remains radically under-explored. In particular, the issue of partial responsibility for an outcome needs further development. I propose an account of partial responsibility based on partial causal contribution. Agents who choose autonomously in full knowledge of the consequences are agent-responsible, I claim, for the shift in the objective probability of the (...)
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  29. Nicole A. Vincent (2009). What Do You Mean I Should Take Responsibility for My Own Ill Health? Journal of Applied Ethics and Philosophy 1 (1):39-51.
    Luck egalitarians think that considerations of responsibility can excuse departures from strict equality. However critics argue that allowing responsibility to play this role has objectionably harsh consequences. Luck egalitarians usually respond either by explaining why that harshness is not excessive, or by identifying allegedly legitimate exclusions from the default responsibility-tracking rule to tone down that harshness. And in response, critics respectively deny that this harshness is not excessive, or they argue that those exclusions would be ineffective or lacking in justification. (...)
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  30. Nicole A. Vincent (2006). Equality, Responsibility and Talent Slavery. Imprints 9 (2):118-39.
    Egalitarians must address two questions: i. What should there be an equality of, which concerns the currency of the ‘equalisandum’; and ii. How should this thing be allocated to achieve the so-called equal distribution? A plausible initial composite answer to these two questions is that resources should be allocated in accordance with choice, because this way the resulting distribution of the said equalisandum will ‘track responsibility’ — responsibility will be tracked in the sense that only we will be responsible for (...)
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  31. Alex Voorhoeve (2008). Scanlon on Substantive Responsibility. Journal of Political Philosophy 16 (2):184-200.
    I argue that Scanlon's Value of Choice View does not offer a plausible account of substantive responsibility. I offer a new account, which I call the Potential Value of Opportunities View. On this view, when a person is in a position to freely and capably make an informed choice, we assess her situation not by the outcome she achieves but by the potential value of her opportunities. This value depends on the value of the various things that she can achieve (...)
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  32. Alex Voorhoeve (2005). Equal Opportunity, Equality, and Responsibility. Dissertation, University of London
    This thesis argues that a particular version of equal opportunity for welfare is the best way of meeting the joint demands of three liberal egalitarian ideals: distributional equality, responsibility, and respect for individuals’ differing reasonable judgements of their own good. It also examines which social choice rules best represent these demands. Finally, it defends the view that achieving equal opportunity for welfare should not only be a goal of formal public institutions, but that just citizens should also sometimes be guided (...)
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  33. Gary Watson (2006). The Problematic Role of Responsibility in Contexts of Distributive Justice. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 72 (2):425 - 432.
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  34. Garrath Williams (2010). 'Who Are We to Judge?' – On the Proportionment of Happiness to Virtue. Philosophy 85 (1):47-66.
    The claim that happiness and virtue ought to be proportionate to one another has often been expressed in the idea of a future world of divine justice, despite many moral difficulties with this idea. This paper argues that human efforts to enact such a proportionment are, ironically, justified by the same reasons that make the idea of divine justice seem so problematic. Moralists have often regarded our frailty and fallibility as reasons for abstaining from the judgment of others; and doubts (...)
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