Educational Philosophy and Theory 53 (8):768-776 (2021)

For much of its modern history, the notion of talent has been associated with the idea of ‘careers open to talent’. Its emancipatory promise of upward social mobility has radically transformed the distribution of advantaged social positions and has had a lasting influence on the very idea of social status itself. Nevertheless, unlike concepts traditionally associated with distributive justice, e.g. fairness, equality, desert, equality of opportunity as well as justice itself, the notion of talent has received only limited examination. This article discusses some of the most pressing problems and challenges arising out of a reductionist understanding of talents’ anatomy and a distorted characterization of their overall distributive value. In particular, it aims to address those issues revolving around talents’ anatomy existing conceptions of distributive justice leave either neglected or outrightly ignored. The introductory part outlines the basic egalitarian conception of equal opportunities and then proceed with the examination of fairness embedded in it. The central part of the paper identifies the key elements of talents’ anatomy. We then discuss some of the implications egalitarianism either leaves out of the discussion or neglects. In particular, we challenge the idea of moral arbitrariness as the key mechanism to discard talents as a form of unfair advantage in the process of competition for advantaged social positions. In the final part, we outline two fundamental problems that call into question the cogency of egalitarian conceptions of talent as a form of unfair disadvantage.
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DOI 10.1080/00131857.2020.1808021
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References found in this work BETA

What is Egalitarianism?Samuel Scheffler - 2003 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 31 (1):5-39.
Inequality.Larry S. Temkin - 1986 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 15 (2):99-121.
Choice, Circumstance, and the Value of Equality.Samuel Scheffler - 2005 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 4 (1):5-28.
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