Res Publica 25 (1):21-38 (2019)

Lasse Nielsen
Palacky University
In this paper, I ask what is wrong with sufficiency. I formulate a generic sufficiency principle in relation to which I discuss possible problems for sufficientarianism. I argue against the arbitrariness–concern, that sufficiency theory need only to identify a possible space for determining a plausible threshold, and I argue against the high–low threshold dilemma concern, that multiple-threshold views can solve this dilemma. I then distinguish between currency-pluralist and currency-monist multiple-threshold views and test them against two different versions of the widely shared ‘ignorance of inequality objection’ to sufficientarianism—a benefit-driven and a burden-driven version. I argue that currency-pluralist sufficiency views are better capable of responding to the former than currency-monist views. However, I show that no existing sufficiency view can provide a plausible response to the burden-driven version. Hence, I conclude that the problem of unequal distribution of burdens above the thresholds represents an overlooked threat to the sufficiency view, in any version.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11158-017-9377-y
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: 58,242
External links

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

The Morality of Freedom.Joseph Raz - 1986 - Philosophy 63 (243):119-122.
Equality as a Moral Ideal.Harry Frankfurt - 1987 - Ethics 98 (1):21-43.
Why Sufficiency is Not Enough.Paula Casal - 2007 - Ethics 117 (2):296-326.
Women and Human Development.Martha C. Nussbaum - 2003 - Mind 112 (446):372-375.
Equality, Priority, and Compassion.Roger Crisp - 2003 - Ethics 113 (4):745-763.

View all 22 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Prospects for Sufficientarianism.Liam Shields - 2012 - Utilitas 24 (1):101-117.
From Rawlsian Autonomy to Sufficient Opportunity in Education.Liam Shields - 2015 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 14 (1):53-66.
Rescuing Sufficientarianism From Itself.Adelin-Costin Dumitru - 2020 - South African Journal of Philosophy 39 (3):347-359.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Sufficiency Grounded as Sufficiently Free: A Reply to Shlomi Segall.Lasse Nielsen - 2016 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 33 (2):202-216.
The Prospects for Sufficientarianism.Liam Shields - 2012 - Utilitas 24 (1):101-117.
The Leverage Approach for Sufficiency?Zi Lin - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (5):1203-1210.
The Right to Health Care as a Right to Basic Human Functional Capabilities.Efrat Ram-Tiktin - 2012 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (3):337 - 351.
Challenges for Principles of Need in Health Care.Niklas Juth - 2015 - Health Care Analysis 23 (1):73-87.
What Makes Reasons Sufficient?Mark Schroeder - 2015 - American Philosophical Quarterly 52 (2):159-170.
On Nationality and Global Equality: A Reply to Holtug.David Miller - 2011 - Ethics and Global Politics 4 (3):165-171.
Why Sufficiency is Not Enough.Paula Casal - 2007 - Ethics 117 (2):296-326.


Added to PP index

Total views
30 ( #348,686 of 2,419,525 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
11 ( #61,291 of 2,419,525 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes