The Harshness objection: Is luck egalitarianism too Harsh on the victims of option luck? [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (4):389 - 407 (2007)
According to luck egalitarianism, inequalities are justified if and only if they arise from choices for which it is reasonable to hold agents responsible. This position has been criticised for its purported harshness in responding to the plight of individuals who, through their own choices, end up destitute. This paper aims to assess the Harshness Objection. I put forward a version of the objection that has been qualified to take into account some of the more subtle elements of the luck egalitarian approach. Revising the objection in this way suggests that the Harshness Objection has been overstated by its proponents: because luck egalitarians are sensitive to the influence of unequal brute luck on individuals’ choices, it is unlikely that there will be any real world cases in which the luck egalitarian would not have to provide at least partial compensation. However, the Harshness Objection still poses problems for the luck egalitarian. First, it is not clear that partial compensation will be sufficient to avoid catastrophic outcomes. Second, the Harshness Objection raises a theoretical problem in that a consistent luck egalitarian will have to regard it as unjust if any assistance is provided to the victim of pure option luck, even if such assistance could be provided at no cost. I consider three strategies the luck egalitarian could pursue to accommodate these concerns and conclude that none of these strategies can be maintained without either violating basic luck egalitarian principles or infringing upon individual liberty.
|Keywords||choice equality harshness luck egalitarianism option luck|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Elizabeth S. Anderson (1999). What is the Point of Equality? Ethics 109 (2):287-337.
G. A. Cohen (1989). On the Currency of Egalitarian Justice. Ethics 99 (4):906-944.
Ronald Dworkin (2002). [Book Review] Sovereign Virtue, the Theory and Practice of Equality. [REVIEW] Ethics 112 (2):367-371.
Richard J. Arneson (1989). Equality and Equal Opportunity for Welfare. Philosophical Studies 56 (1):77 - 93.
Derek Parfit (1997). Equality and Priority. Ratio 10 (3):202–221.
Citations of this work BETA
Carl Knight (2013). Luck Egalitarianism. Philosophy Compass 8 (10):924-934.
Carl Knight (2013). Egalitarian Justice and Expected Value. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (5):1061-1073.
A. Albertsen & C. Knight (2015). A Framework for Luck Egalitarianism in Health and Healthcare. Journal of Medical Ethics 41 (2):165-169.
Patrick Tomlin (2013). Choices Chance and Change: Luck Egalitarianism Over Time. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (2):393-407.
Mark Navin (2011). Luck and Oppression. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (5):533-547.
Similar books and articles
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.
Martin E. Sandbu (2004). On Dworkin’s Brute-Luck–Option-Luck Distinction and the Consistency of Brute-Luck Egalitarianism. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 3 (3):283-312.
H. De Schutter & L. Ypi (2012). Language and Luck. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 11 (4):357-381.
Carl Knight (2005). In Defence of Luck Egalitarianism. Res Publica 11 (1):1-10.
Carl Knight (2011). Inequality, Avoidability, and Healthcare. Iyyun 60:72-88.
Richard Arneson (2004). Luck Egalitarianism Interpretated and Defended. Philosophical Topics 32 (1/2):1-20.
Robert Jubb (2011). On the Significance of the Basic Structure: A Priori Baseline Views and Luck Egalitarianism. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 14 (1):59-79.
Timothy Hinton (2002). Choice and Luck in Recent Egalitarian Thought. Philosophical Papers 31 (2):145-167.
Carl Knight (2009). Luck Egalitarianism: Equality, Responsibility, and Justice. Edinburgh University Press.
Gideon Elford (2013). Equality of Opportunity and Other-Affecting Choice: Why Luck Egalitarianism Does Not Require Brute Luck Equality. [REVIEW] Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (1):139-149.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads86 ( #33,254 of 1,724,865 )
Recent downloads (6 months)12 ( #55,966 of 1,724,865 )
How can I increase my downloads?