Justice, Thresholds, and the Three Claims of Sufficientarianism

Journal of Political Philosophy 30 (3):298-323 (2022)
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In this article, I propose a novel characterization of sufficientarianism. I argue that sufficientarianism combines three claims: a priority claim that we have non-instrumental reasons to prioritize benefits in certain ranges over benefits in other ranges; a continuum claim that at least two of those ranges are on one continuum; and a deficiency claim that the lower a range on a continuum, the more priority benefits in that range have. This characterization of sufficientarianism sheds new light on two long-standing philosophical debates, namely about the distinctiveness of sufficientarianism as a distributive principle and about the common objections to sufficientarianism.

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Dick Timmer
Dortmund University

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