Analyse & Kritik 21 (2):171-191 (1999)

Thomas Schramme
Universität Hamburg
Alternative approaches in the discussion of distributive justice differ in their answers to the question 'equality of what'? In this essay I intend to ask instead 'why equality'? The article rejects several arguments in favour of distributive equality, mainly on the grounds that they confuse two different kinds of justice, namely 'formal' justice and distributive justice. The ideal of distributive equality is based on comparisons but equal respect does not necessarily involve relational considerations. Subsequently I will consider equality of opportunity which appears on first sight to be the most promising account. However, I will point out that this approach is not convincing as an attempt to give everyone the chance to live a good life. Finally I will submit that only a theory of absolute needs is adequate
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DOI 10.1515/auk-1999-0202
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