Journal of Applied Philosophy 16 (1):95–101 (1999)

Stephen Kershnar
Fredonia State University
The compensatory‐justice justification of affirmative action requires a comparison of the actual world in which the injured person lives with a relevantly similar possible world in which this person lives but where the unjust injuring act never occurred, in order to identify the degree of harm brought about by the unjust injurious act. The problem is that some unjust injuring acts, particularly acts of slavery, led to intercourse and the later creation of the ancestors of many members of minority groups. Hence, there is no possible world in which these individuals exist and in which the injustice, e.g., slavery, did not occur. As a result, the counterfactual test does not allow us to measure or even understand the existence of a compensatable injury to these persons. I provide an inheritance‐based account of compensation that escapes this.
Keywords Reparations  Slavery  Inheritance  Non-Identity Problem  Compensation  African-Americans
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/1468-5930.00111
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 63,417
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

A Lockean Argument for Black Reparations.Bernard R. Boxill - 2003 - The Journal of Ethics 7 (1):63-91.
Transgenerational Compensation.George Sher - 2005 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 33 (2):181-200.
Black Reparations.Bernard Boxill - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Counterfactual Conception of Compensation.Rodney C. Roberts - 2006 - Metaphilosophy 37 (3-4):414–428.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
95 ( #113,493 of 2,449,125 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
7 ( #96,672 of 2,449,125 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes