One of the most distinctive features of Ronald Dworkin?s egalitarian theory is its commitment to holding individuals responsible for the costs to others of their ambitions. This commitment has received much criticism. Drawing on Dworkin?s latest statement of his position in Justice for Hedgehogs (2011), we suggest that it seems to be in tension with another crucial element of Dworkin?s own theory, namely, its endorsement of the importance of people leading authentic lives ? lives that reflect their own values. We (...) examine this tension between responsibility and authenticity, and some strategies Dworkin does and could deploy to defuse it, which we think are unsuccessful. We then propose a solution for reconciling the demands of responsibility and authenticity, which is, so we claim, friendly to Dworkin?s fundamental commitments but which leads to a revisionist interpretation of the demands of equality of resources. (shrink)
One of the central motifs of G. A. Cohen's work was his opposition to capitalism in the name of justice. This motif was fully in view in Cohen's work on Robert Nozick's libertarianism: Cohen carefully reconstructed and relentlessly criticized Nozick's apologetics of the free market, which, he thought, was internally coherent but unconvincing. This article suggests that Cohen's opposition to libertarianism did not, however, go far enough, and identifies two respects in which Cohen's position could and should have been more (...) critical of that philosophy. (shrink)
Contemporary egalitarian theories of justice constrain the demands of equality by responsibility, and do not view as unjust inequalities that are traceable to individuals' choices. This paper argues that, in order to make non-arbitrary determinate judgements of responsibility, any theory of justice needs a principle of stakes , that is, an account of what consequences choices should have. The paper also argues that the principles of stakes seemingly presupposed by egalitarians are implausible, and that adopting alternative principles of stakes amounts (...) to fleshing out the demands of responsibility rather than imposing limits on them. (shrink)
A central question for assessing the merits of Amartya Sen's capability approach as a potential answer to the “distribution of what”? question concerns the exact role and nature of freedom in that approach. Sen holds that a person's capability identifies that person's effective freedom to achieve valuable states of beings and doings, or functionings, and that freedom so understood, rather than achieved functionings themselves, is the primary evaluative space. Sen's emphasis on freedom has been criticised by G. A. Cohen, according (...) to whom the capability approach either uses too expansive a definition of freedom or rests on an implausibly active, indeed “athletic,” view of well-being. This paper defends the capability approach from this criticism. It argues that we can view the capability approach to be underpinned by an account of well-being which takes the endorsement of valuable functionings as constitutive of well-being, and by a particular view of the way in which endorsement relates to force and choice. Footnotes1 I would like to thank Paul Bou-Habib, Ian Carter, Matthew Kramer, Ingrid Robeyns, Peter Vallentyne, and two Economics and Philosophy referees for very helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. I am also grateful to the participants of the Edinburgh ECPR Workshop, the Hoover Chair Seminar in Louvain-La-Neuve, the King's College Moral Philosophy Group in Cambridge, the Nuffield Political Theory Workshop in Oxford, and the session on the Capability Approach at the Philadelphia APSA Annual Conference. (shrink)
Are inequalities of income created by the free market just? In this book Serena Olsaretti examines two main arguments that justify those inequalities: the first claims that they are just because they are deserved, and the second claims that they are just because they are what free individuals are entitled to. Both these arguments purport to show, in different ways, that giving responsible individuals their due requires that free market inequalities in incomes be allowed. Olsaretti argues, however, that neither argument (...) is successful, and shows that when we examine closely the principle of desert and the notions of liberty and choice invoked by defenders of the free market, it appears that a conception of justice that would accommodate these notions, far from supporting free market inequalities, calls for their elimination. Her book will be of interest to a wide range of readers in political philosophy, political theory, and normative economics. (shrink)
Does justice require that individuals get what they deserve? Serena Olsaretti brings together new essays by leading moral and political philosophers examining the relation between desert and justice; they also illuminate the nature of distributive justice, and the relationship between desert and other values, such as equality and responsibility.