Social justice and the distribution of republican freedom

European Journal of Political Theory (1):147488511668475 (2016)
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A republican theory of social justice specifies how republican freedom should be distributed. The goal of this paper is to assess the plausibility of two recently proposed principles of republican social justice: an aggregative maximizing principle defended by Philip Pettit in Republicanism and a sufficiency principle of republican social justice offered by Pettit in On the People’s Terms. The maximizing principle must be rejected because it permits under-protecting vulnerable members of society in favor of increasing the freedom of the powerful. The sufficiency principle avoids the most basic objection to the maximizing principle, but it is at best an incomplete theory of social justice. Social justice requires principle(s) for determining the justice of distributions above the sufficiency threshold and republican theory does not determine which principle(s) should govern distributions above the threshold. Republicans must decide whether they will incorporate an independent commitment to equality within their theory of social justice.



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Jonathan Peterson
Loyola University, New Orleans

Citations of this work

Justice, Thresholds, and the Three Claims of Sufficientarianism.Dick Timmer - 2021 - Journal of Political Philosophy 30 (3):298-323.

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References found in this work

Why sufficiency is not enough.Paula Casal - 2007 - Ethics 117 (2):296-326.
The Prospects for Sufficientarianism.Liam Shields - 2012 - Utilitas 24 (1):101-117.
Equality-tempered prioritarianism.Dale Dorsey - 2014 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 13 (1):45-61.

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