Journal of Social Philosophy 34 (2):267–284 (2003)

Stephen Kershnar
Fredonia State University
The most qualified applicant is the one who has the propensity to maximally satisfy the employer’s preferences. An applicant’s propensity is a function of her willingness to work hard together with the relevant capacity or potentiality to do the tasks constituting a job. Given this account of the most qualified applicant, there is only a weak duty, if any, to hire persons based on their being the most qualified. Such a duty is not justified by reference to rights, desert, fairness, or the maximization of welfare. However, such a duty may come about via promises made by the employer or the employee who does the hiring. These results suggest that anti-discrimination laws cannot be justified based on merit, although other justifications might still be available.
Keywords Discrimination  Race Discrimination  Sex Discrimination  Merit  Civil Rights
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DOI 10.1111/1467-9833.00180
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