Envy, facts and justice: A critique of the treatment of envy in justice as fairness

Res Publica 14 (2):101-116 (2008)

Abstract

A common anti-egalitarian argument is that equality is motivated by envy, or the desire to placate envy. In order to avoid this charge, John Rawls explicitly banishes envy from his original position. This article argues that this is an inconsistent and untenable position for Rawls, as he treats envy as if it were a fact of human psychology and believes that principles of justice should be based on such facts. Therefore envy should be known about in the original position. The consequences for Rawlsian theory—both substantive and methodological—are discussed.

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Author's Profile

Patrick Tomlin
University of Warwick

References found in this work

Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - New York: Basic Books.
A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
Rescuing Justice and Equality.G. A. Cohen (ed.) - 2008 - Harvard University Press.
Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - Philosophy 52 (199):102-105.
Facts and Principles.G. A. Cohen - 2003 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 31 (3):211-245.

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Citations of this work

Envy, Self-Esteem, and Distributive Justice.Vegard Stensen - forthcoming - European Journal of Political Theory.

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