Can I be a Luck Egaliatarian and a Rawlsian?

Ethical Perspectives 19 (3):371-397 (2012)

Patrick Tomlin
University of Warwick
Rawls’s difference principle and the position dubbed ‘luck egalitarianism’ are often viewed as competing theories of distributive justice. However, recent work has emphasised that Rawlsians and luck egalitarians are working with different understandings of the concept of justice, and thus not only propose different theories, but different theories of different things. Once they are no longer seen in direct competition, there are some questions to be asked about whether these two theories can be consistently endorsed alongside one another. In this essay, I (begin to) investigate whether Rawls’s theory (or elements of it) and (some form of) luck egalitarianism can be consistently endorsed. I begin by outlining the main aspects of Rawls’s theory and luck egalitarianism, showing them to be different kinds of theory and therefore not in direct competition. I then propose an understanding of how these ideas came to be seen to be in direct competition. Finally, I outline five different ways in which one might consistently be (some kind of) a luck egalitarian and (some kind of) a Rawlsian, and try to say something about what is to be said for and against each of these ways of combining the theories.
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Ideal Vs. Non‐Ideal Theory: A Conceptual Map.Laura Valentini - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (9):654-664.
Luck, Risk and the Market.Hugh Lazenby - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (4):667-680.
On the Conceptual Status of Justice.Kyle Johannsen - 2015 - Dissertation, Queen's University

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