David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Business Ethics 30 (3):277 - 289 (2001)
The Fair-Start Defense justifies affirmative action preferences as a response to harms caused by race- and sex-based discrimination. Rather than base a justification for preferences on the traditional appeal to self-esteem, I argue they are justified in virtue of the effects institutional discrimination has on the goals and aspirations of its victims. In particular, I argue that institutional discrimination puts women and blacks at an unfair competitive disadvantage by causing academic disidentification. Affirmative action is justified as a means of negating this unfair disadvantage.
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