Philosophical Studies 93 (1):77-112 (1999)
|Abstract||According to John Rawls, "Justice is the first virtue of social institutions."1 Like Gaul, justice is tripartite. Rawls affirms an Equal Liberty Principle that guarantees equal basic or constitutional liberties for all citizens and a Difference Principle that requires inequalities in the distribution of certain social and economic benefits, the primary social goods, to be set so that the long-term holdings of primary social goods are maximized for the citizens whose holdings are least. Sandwiched between these two principles is a Fair Equality of Opportunity Principle, which has stimulated much less commentary.2 Yet this Principle is plausible, controversial, and has radical implications for the design of social policy and legislation in modern democracies. This essay assesses Fair Equality of Opportunity and offers reasons for rejecting it.|
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