Some people are worse off than others. Does this fact give rise to moral concern? Egalitarianism claims that it does, for a wide array of reasons. It is one of the most important and hotly debated problems in moral and political philosophy, occupying a central place in the work of John Rawls, Thomas Nagel, G. A. Cohen and Derek Parfit. It also plays an important role in practical contexts such as the allocation of health care resources, the design of (...) education and tax systems, and the pursuit of global justice. Egalitarianism is a superb introduction to the problem of contemporary egalitarian theories. It explains how rival theories of egalitarianism evaluate distributions of people’s well-being, and carefully assesses the theoretical structure of each theory. It also examines how egalitarian theories are applied to the distribution of health and health care, thus bringing a deceptively complex philosophical debate into clear focus. Beginning with a brief introduction to basic terminology, Iwao Hirose examines the following topics: Rawlsian egalitarianism luck egalitarianism telic egalitarianism prioritarianism sufficientarianism equality and time equality in health and health care. Including chapter summaries, annotated further reading and a glossary, this is an ideal starting point for anyone studying distributive justice for the first time, and will also be of interest to more advanced students and researchers in philosophy, economics, political theory, public policy, and public health. (shrink)
How should we decide which inequalities between people are justified, and which are unjustified? One answer is that such inequalities are only justified where there is a corresponding variation in responsible action or choice on the part of the persons concerned. This view, which has become known as 'luck egalitarianism', has come to occupy a central place in recent debates about distributive justice. This book is the first full length treatment of this significant development in contemporary political philosophy. Each (...) of its three parts addresses a key question concerning the theory. Which version of luck egalitarian comes closest to realizing luck egalitarian objectives? Does luck egalitarianism succeed as a view of egalitarian justice? And is it sound as an account of distributive justice in general? The book provides a distinctive answer to each of these questions, along the way engaging with the leading theorists identified in the literature as luck egalitarians, such as Richard Arneson, G. A. Cohen, and Ronald Dworkin, as well as the most influential critics, including Elizabeth Anderson, Marc Fleurbaey, Susan Hurley, Samuel Scheffler, and Jonathan Wolff. (shrink)
Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen tackles all the major questions concerning luck egalitarianism, providing deep, penetrating and original discussion of recent academic discourses on distributive justice as well as responses to some of the main objections in the literature. It offers a new answer to the “Why equality?” and “Equality of what?” questions, and provides a robust luck egalitarian response to the recent criticisms of luck egalitarianism by social relations egalitarians. This systematic, theoretical introduction illustrates the broader picture of distributive justice (...) and enables the reader to understand the core intuitions underlying, or conflicting with, luck egalitarianism. (shrink)
Pragmatist Egalitarianism argues that a deep impasse plagues philosophical egalitarianism. It sets forth a conception of equality rooted in American pragmatist thought--specifically William James, John Dewey, and Richard Rorty--that successfully mediates that impasse.
This paper argues that there are good reasons to limit the scope of luck egalitarianism to co‐existing people. First, I outline reasons to be sceptical about how “luck” works intergenerationally and therefore the very grounding of luck egalitarianism between non‐overlapping generations. Second, I argue that what Kasper Lippert‐Rasmussen calls the “core luck egalitarian claim” allows significant intergenerational inequality which is a problem for those who object to such inequality. Third, luck egalitarianism cannot accommodate the intuition that it (...) might be required to leave future generations better off than we are, even if it would come at no cost to ourselves. Finally, I argue that following another, broader, version of luck egalitarianism would require us to level down future generations and possibly even ourselves, which is a problem for those persuaded by the levelling‐down objection. (shrink)
Luck egalitarianism is a family of egalitarian theories of distributive justice that aim to counteract the distributive effects of luck. This article explains luck egalitarianism's main ideas, and the debates that have accompanied its rise to prominence. There are two main parts to the discussion. The first part sets out three key moves in the influential early statements of Dworkin, Arneson, and Cohen: the brute luck/option luck distinction, the specification of brute luck in everyday or theoretical terms and (...) the specification of advantage as resources, welfare, or some combination of these. The second part covers three later developments: the democratic egalitarian critique of luck egalitarianism, the luck egalitarian acceptance of pluralism, and luck egalitarian doubts about the significance of the brute luck/option luck distinction. (shrink)
In the past few decades, there has been a growing literature on relational egalitarianism. Relational egalitarianism is a view on the nature and value of equality. In contrast to the dominant view in recent debates on equality—distributive egalitarianism, on which equality is about ensuring people have or fare the same in some respect—on the relational view, equality is a matter of the terms on which relationships are structured. But what exactly does it mean for people to relate (...) as equals? And why are relations of equality valuable? Relational egalitarians have offered quite different answers to each of these questions. In this article, I draw attention to some key issues that underlie these disagree- ments, and I offer a taxonomy of different viewpoints that have emerged in the recent literature on these matters. (shrink)
Calum Miller recently argued that a commitment to a very modest form of egalitarianism—equality between non-disabled human adults—implies fetal personhood. Miller claims that the most plausible basis for human equality is in being human—an attribute which fetuses have—therefore, abortion is likely to be morally wrong. In this paper, I offer a plausible defence for the view that equality between non-disabled human adults does not imply fetal personhood. I also offer a challenge for Miller’s view.
In her recent, provocative essay “What Is the Point of Equality?”, Elizabeth Anderson argues against a common ideal of egalitarian justice that she calls “ luck egalitarianism” and in favor of an approach she calls “democratic equality.”1 According to the luck egalitarian, the aim of justice as equality is to eliminate so far as is possible the impact on people’s lives of bad luck that falls on them through no fault or choice of their own. In the ideal luck (...) egalitarian society, there are no inequalities in people’s life prospects except those that arise through processes of voluntary choice or faulty conduct, for which the agents involved can reasonably be held responsible. Anderson asserts that the adherents of luck egalitarianism, which can be elaborated in many different ways, include John Roemer, Erik Rakowski, Thomas Nagel, Ronald Dworkin, Gerald Cohen, Richard Arneson, and Philippe Van Parijs.2 In contrast, according to the democratic equality conception, justice as equality requires an end to oppressive social relationships. In the ideal society of democratic equality, the social conditions of everyone’s freedom are secured, each stands to every other in a relationship of fundamental equality, including equal respect, and all have real freedom to participate in democratic self-government. (shrink)
The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in school closures around the world, leaving lasting negative impacts on many children. Given that such closures are justified public health measures, this raises the question of compensating children for school closures. In this article I address the question of compensation from the perspective of a popular theory of justice: luck egalitarianism. In doing so, I examine a problem with applying luck egalitarianism to children, called the agency assumption. I then argue this assumption results (...) in a dilemma for luck egalitarianism and suggest how this dilemma can be overcome. I argue that the resulting form of luck egalitarianism reveals something interesting about compensating children for school closures: luck egalitarianism requires us to address all bases of justice-relevant inequality among children—Covid-19-related and beyond. Although much of the current discussion of compensating children for such closures has focused narrowly on the need to make up for lost instruction time or to prevent reductions in educational achievement, I argue that a luck egalitarian conception of justice requires us to go beyond merely compensating children for educational losses and instead aim for radical equality in education. (shrink)
The difference between the unity of the individual and the separateness of persons requires that there be a shift in the moral weight that we accord to changes in utility when we move from making intrapersonal tradeoffs to making interpersonal tradeoffs. We examine which forms of egalitarianism can, and which cannot, account for this shift. We argue that a form of egalitarianism which is concerned only with the extent of outcome inequality cannot account for this shift. We also (...) argue that a view which is concerned with both outcome inequality and with the unfairness of inequality in individuals‘ expected utilities can account for this shift. Finally, we limn an alternative view, on.. (shrink)
Decision-makers face severe uncertainty when they are not in a position to assign precise probabilities to all of the relevant possible outcomes of their actions. Such situations are common—novel medical treatments and policies addressing climate change are two examples. Many decision-makers respond to such uncertainty in a cautious manner and are willing to incur a cost to avoid it. There are good reasons for taking such an uncertainty-averse attitude to be permissible. However, little work has been done to incorporate it (...) into an egalitarian theory of distributive justice. We aim to remedy this lack. We put forward a novel, uncertainty-averse egalitarian view. We analyse when the aims of reducing inequality and limiting the burdens of severe uncertainty are congruent and when they conflict, and highlight practical implications of the proposed view. We also demonstrate that if uncertainty aversion is permissible, then utilitarians must relinquish a favourite argument against egalitarianism. (shrink)
In recent literature, there has been much debate about whether and how luck egalitarianism, given its focus on personal responsibility, can justify universal health care. In this paper we argue that, whether or not this is so, and in fact whether or not egalitarianism should be sensitive to responsibility at all, the question of personal responsibilization for health is not settled. This is the case because whether or not individuals are responsible for their own health condition is not (...) all that is relevant when considering whether we should somehow hold them responsible for their own health condition, e.g. cost-wise. There may also be efficiency-based reasons to hold them responsible, and there may even be egalitarian reasons. Defining universal health care as an insurance system where everyone’s deductible and premium is 0, we will argue that efficiency-based reasons for cost-responsibilization are not convincing, but that there are egalitarian reasons for cost-responsibilization. Luck egalitarianism, therefore, cannot, at least not on its own term, justify universal health care. (shrink)
In "Egalitarianism Defended," Larry Temkin attempted to rebut criticisms of egalitarianism I had made in my article, "Equality, Priority, and Compassion." Temkin's response is interesting and illuminating, but, in this article, I shall claim that his arguments miss their target and that the failure of egalitarianism may have implications more serious than some have thought.
In this article, I appeal to the phenomenon of moral hazard in order to explain how at least some of the inequalities permitted by Luck Egalitarianism can be given an alternative, more plausible grounding than that which is supplied by Luck Egalitarianism. This alternative grounding robs Luck Egalitarianism of a potentially significant source of intuitive support whilst enabling conditional welfare policies to survive the attacks on them made by Elizabeth Anderson, Jonathan Wolff, and others.
This chapter contains sections titled: Distinguishing Different Kinds of Egalitarianism Equality, Fairness, Luck, and Responsibility Equality of What? The Subsistence Level, Sufficiency, and Compassion Prioritarianism and the Leveling Down Objection19 Equality or Priority? Illustrating Egalitarianism's Distinct Appeal Conclusion Notes.
In "Equality, Priority, and Compassion," Roger Crisp rejects both egalitarianism and prioritarianism. Crisp contends that our concern for those who are badly off is best accounted for by appealing to "a sufficiency principle" based -- indirectly, via the notion of an impartial spectator -- on compassion for those who are badly off" (p. 745). A key example of Crisp's is the Beverly Hills case (discussed below). This example is directed against prioritarianism, but it also threatens egalitarianism. In this (...) article, I respond to the Beverly Hills case. I also challenge the wide person-affecting principle and Crisp's welfarist restriction, which some believe underlie the Levelling Down Objection against egalitarianism. My aim in this article is to defend egalitarianism by illuminating both its nature and appeal. (shrink)
Over the last twenty years, many political philosophers have rejected the idea that justice is fundamentally about distribution. Rather, justice is about social relations, and the so-called distributive paradigm should be replaced by a new relational paradigm. Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen seeks to describe, refine, and assess these thoughts and to propose a comprehensive form of egalitarianism which includes central elements from both relational and distributive paradigms. He shows why many of the challenges that luck egalitarianism faces reappear, once we (...) try to specify relational egalitarianism more fully. His discussion advances understanding of the nature of the relational ideal, and introduces new conceptual tools for understanding it and for exploring the important question of why it is desirable in the first place to relate as equals. Even severe critics of the distributive understanding of justice will find that this book casts important new light on the ideal to which they subscribe. (shrink)
Modal Plenitude—the view that, for every empirically adequate modal profile, there is an object whose modal profile it is—is held to be consistent with each of endurantist and perdurantist (three- and four-dimensionalist) views of persistence. Here I show that, because “endurer” and “perdurer” are two substantially different kinds of entity, compossible with each other and consistent with empirical data, Modal Plenitude actually entails a third view about persistence that I call “Persistence Egalitarianism.” In every non-empty spacetime region there are (...) two persisting objects: one that endures through the temporal dimension of that region, and another that perdures through the region. Additionally, if the argument from anthropocentrism makes a strong case for Modal Plenitude, then an equally strong and parallel case supports Persistence Egalitarianism. I close with the meta-semantic consequences of persistence egalitarianism for ordinary object talk. (shrink)
This paper argues that egalitarian theories should be judged by the degree to which they meet four different challenges. Fundamentalist egalitarianism, which contends that certain inequalities are intrinsically bad or unjust regardless of their consequences, fails to meet these challenges. Building on discussions by T.M. Scanlon and David Miller, we argue that egalitarianism is better understood in terms of commitments to six egalitarian objectives. A consequence of our view, in contrast to Martin O'Neill's “non-intrinsic egalitarianism,“ is that (...)egalitarianism is better understood as a family of views than as a single ethical position. (shrink)
In recent years some moral philosophers and political theorists, who have come to be called “luck egalitarians,” have urged that the essence of social justice is the moral imperative to improve the condition of people who suffer from simple bad luck. Prominent theorists who have attracted the luck egalitarian label include Ronald Dworkin, G. A. Cohen, and John Roemer.1 Larry Temkin should also be included in this group, as should Thomas Nagel at the time that he wrote Equality and Partiality.2 (...) However, each of these theorists asserts a different position. The common ground, if any, is obscure. The idea of luck that is invoked is not transparently clear. Anyway, the term “luck egalitarianism” was coined by a critic of the doctrine, and tendentiously defined to denote an extreme version of the view that looks implausible from the start.3 With some justice Ronald Dworkin, perhaps the chief architect of the luck egalitarian position, has denied that he is a luck egalitarian. (shrink)
People’s health is hugely affected by where they live, their occupational status and their socio-economic position. It has been widely argued that the presence of such social determinants in health provides good reasons to reject luck egalitarianism as a theory of distributive justice in health. The literature provides different reasons why this responsibility-sensitive theory of distributive justice should not be applied to health. The critiques submit that the social circumstances undermine or remove people’s responsibility for their health; responsibility sensitive (...) health policies would adversely affect those who are worst off and; the luck egalitarian approach to health distracts from the important task of rectifying socio-economic influences on people's health and provides individualistic solutions to collective problems. But for each of these variants of the critique luck egalitarianism provides suitable answers. The literature on social determinants is no detriment to the project of applying luck egalitarianism to health. (shrink)
Achieving social equality has been an important aim of modern democratic societies. Yet the process has engendered debate about the nature of equality and the consequences of its application. Why is equality valuable? What kind of equality should be aimed for? When is inequality justified? Should a principle of equality apply globally? The book assesses and links the different dimensions of equality and asks whether recent writing on the topic has the philosophical substance and political force traditionally associated with egalitarian (...) thought. (shrink)
Lucia Schwarz urges a reconsideration of the implications of species egalitarianism, which is an essential element of the position in environmental ethics that Paul Taylor calls “respect for nature.” Species egalitarianism’s claim that every living thing has equal inherent worth appears to lead to counterintuitive conclusions, such as that killing a human being is no worse than killing a dandelion. Species egalitarians have generally responded by explaining that species egalitarianism is compatible with recognizing moral differences between killing (...) different types of living things, and that some killing is morally permissible. Schwarz raises doubts about whether this deflationary defensive strategy is philosophically justified, and suggests that taking seriously the supposedly repugnant implications of species egalitarianism may have a salutary effect on the overall debate. (shrink)
Luck egalitarians argue that distributive justice should be understood in terms of our capacity to be responsible for our choices. Both proponents and critics assume that the theory must rely on a comprehensive conception of responsibility. I respond to luck egalitarianism’s critics by developing a political conception of responsibility that remains agnostic on the metaphysics of free choice. I construct this political conception by developing a novel reading of John Rawls’ distinction between the political and the comprehensive. A surprising (...) consequence is that many responsibility-based objections to luck egalitarianism turn out to be objections to Rawls’ political liberalism as well. (shrink)
Luck egalitarianism — the theory that makes individual responsibility central to distributive justice, so that bad luck underwrites a more compelling case for redistribution than do the bad choices of the disadvantaged — has recently come under a sustained attack from critics who are deeply committed to the broader struggle for equality. These egalitarian critics object, first, that luck egalitarianism’s policy recommendations are often unappealing. Second, they add that luck egalitarianism neglects the deep political connection between equality (...) and non-subordination, in favor of a shallowly distributive regime. This Article argues that both objections to luck egalitarianism have been exaggerated. Insofar as the criticisms are accurate, they apply only to a particular, maximalist strand of luck egalitarianism, whose distributive principle does not merely adjust allocations in light of responsibility but instead proposes that allocations should precisely track responsibility. However, this responsibility-tracking view does not represent the best or truest development of the basic luck egalitarian ideal. Moreover, the pathologies of the responsibility-tracking view help to cast the appeal of more judicious luck egalitarianism into sharp relief. The redistributive policies that more moderate developments of luck egalitarianism recommend are less objectionable than critics have supposed. And, more importantly, such modest luck egalitarianism is not a purely distributive ideal but instead contains, at its core, a vision of political solidarity among free and equal citizens. (shrink)
Most philosophers discuss the Repugnant Conclusion as an objection to total utilitarianism. But this focus on total utilitarianism seems to be one-sided. It conceals the important fact that other competing moral theories are also subject to the Repugnant Conclusion. The primary aim of this paper is to demonstrate that versions of egalitarianism are subject to the Repugnant Conclusion and other repugnant conclusions.
It is generally acknowledged that most accounts of distributive justice face a trilemma pertaining to agents who are badly off, or risk becoming so, due to their own imprudent behavior: If we a) leave such agents to their own devices, some might perish, which is harsh. If we b) force such agents to buy insurance, for their own good, we act paternalistically. If we c) secure sufficiency for such agents by taxing everyone, we exploit the prudent. This paper discusses how (...) luck egalitarianism should handle this trilemma. The view defended is that luck egalitarianism should avoid Harshness and Paternalism, and accept Exploitation, by incorporating a sufficientarian constraint. The paper further shows how this can be done without violating core luck egalitarian commitments. Lastly, the paper asks whether securing sufficiency for the imprudent really amounts to exploitation as such, and whether it is, in any case, unfair. (shrink)
Luck egalitarianism is a family of egalitarian theories of distributive justice that give a special place to luck, choice, and responsibility. These theories can be understood as responding to perceived weaknesses in influential earlier theories of both the left – in particular Rawls’ liberal egalitarianism (1971) – and the right – Nozick’s libertarianism (1974) stands out here. Rawls put great emphasis on the continuity of his theory with the great social contract theories of modern political thought, particularly emphasising (...) its Kantian character, while Nozick overtly develops his theory as an elaboration of John Locke’s account of property. By contrast, how luck egalitarianism is related to the history of political thought or philosophy more generally has been left unexplored by its proponents. Perhaps this is because they see luck egalitarianism, with its focus on individual choice and association with such contemporary concerns as equality of opportunity, as without significant predecessors in the canon. My purpose in this chapter is to make the tentative first steps towards identifying some historical antecedents of luck egalitarianism among the main works of Western political thought, in particular Aristotle, Machiavelli, and Locke. (shrink)
‘Egalitarian' views of consciousness treat my stream of consciousness and yours as on a par ontologically. A range of worries about Chalmers's philosophical system are traced to a background presupposition of egalitarianism: Chalmers is apparently committed to ‘soul pellets'; the ‘phenomenal properties' at the core of the system are obscure; a ‘vertiginous question' about my identity is raised but not adequately answered; the theory of phenomenal concepts conflicts with the ‘transparency of experience'; the epistemology of other minds verges very (...) close to a priori physicalism; the system predicts that dualism is alluring, when it is not. (shrink)
This chapter contains section titled: Two egalitarian traditions What is an opportunity? Resources, capabilities, and commensurability Perfectionism and liberal egalitarianisms Why pay the costs of opportunities and provision of other goods? Egalitarianism of opportunity and the neoclassical tradition.
It is generally acknowledged that most accounts of distributive justice face a trilemma pertaining to agents who are badly off, or risk becoming so, due to their own imprudent behavior: If we a) leave such agents to their own devices, some might perish, which is harsh (Harshness). If we b) force such agents to buy insurance, for their own good (or ban certain risky activities), we act paternalistically (Paternalism). If we c) secure sufficiency for such agents by taxing everyone, we (...) exploit the prudent (Exploitation). This paper discusses how luck egalitarianism should handle this trilemma. The view defended is that luck egalitarianism should avoid Harshness and Paternalism, and accept Exploitation, by incorporating a sufficientarian constraint. The paper further shows how this can be done without violating core luck egalitarian commitments. Lastly, the paper asks whether securing sufficiency for the imprudent really amounts to exploitation as such, and whether it is, in any case, unfair. (shrink)
Choice-egalitarianism (CE) is, broadly, a version of egalitarianism that gives free choice a pivotal role in justifying any inequality. The basic idea is this: we can morally evaluate equality and inequality in many respects, which we can call factors. Factors might be income, primary goods, wellbeing, how well someone’s life proceeds, and so on. But whatever the relevant factor may be, the baseline for egalitarianism is equality: we start, normatively, by assuming that everyone should receive the baseline, (...) unless not receiving it can be justiﬁed. In choice-egalitarianism the only acceptable justiﬁcation for not receiving the baseline is that this follows from one’s free choice. For example, assume that the factor being equalized is access to some form of higher education: everyone can go to college for free. If one does not go to college because one does not like studying and prefers surﬁng, that is ﬁne. Admittedly one ends up without a college education, but the choice-egalitarian does not ﬁnd this objectionable, for it follows from one’s free choice. (shrink)
What does it mean for algorithmic classifications to be fair to different socially salient groups? According to classification parity criteria, what is required is equality across groups with respect to some performance measure such as error rates. Critics of classification parity object that classification parity entails that achieving fairness may require us to choose an algorithm that makes no group better off and some groups worse off than an alternative. In this article, I interpret the problem of algorithmic fairness as (...) a case concerning the ethics of the distribution of algorithmic classifications across groups (as opposed to, e.g., the fairness of data collection). I begin with a short introduction of algorithmic fairness as a problem discussed in machine learning. I then show how the criticism raised against classification parity is a form of leveling down objection, and I interpret the egalitarianism of classification parity as deontic egalitarianism. I then discuss a challenge to this interpretation and suggest a revision. Finally, I examine how my interpretation provides proponents of classification parity with a response to the leveling down criticism and how it relates to a recent suggestion to evaluate fairness for automated decision-making systems based on risk and welfare considerations from behind a veil of ignorance. (shrink)
A number of philosophers working in applied ethics and bioethics are now earnestly debating the ethics of what they term “moral bioenhancement.” I argue that the society-wide program of biological manipulations required to achieve the purported goals of moral bioenhancement would necessarily implicate the state in a controversial moral perfectionism. Moreover, the prospect of being able to reliably identify some people as, by biological constitution, significantly and consistently more moral than others would seem to pose a profound challenge to egalitarian (...) social and political ideals. Even if moral bioenhancement should ultimately prove to be impossible, there is a chance that a bogus science of bioenhancement would lead to arbitrary inequalities in access to political power or facilitate the unjust rule of authoritarians; in the meantime, the debate about the ethics of moral bioenhancement risks reinvigorating dangerous ideas about the extent of natural inequality in the possession of the moral faculties. (shrink)
The paper critically examines a series of objections to luck egalitarianism raised by Elizabeth Anderson in her essay “What is the Point of Equality?” According to Anderson, current egalitarian writing has come to be dominated by the distinction between choice and brute luck and that strict adherence to this distinction will mean treating some people in ways we have other egalitarian reasons not to want to treat them.A case is made for moving the debate on by adopting a pluralistic (...) view of the fundamental egalitarian impulse that combines concerns about the influence on people’s lives of brute luck with more traditional egalitarian concerns. It is perfectly consistent with pluralistic egalitarianism to say that someone who faces social oppression or lacks effective access to valued functionings should receive public assistance even if not qua the victim of brute luck. (shrink)
The paper extends a result in Dutta and Ray's (1989) theory of constrained egalitarianism initiated by relying on the concept of proportionate rather than absolute equality. We apply this framework to redistributive systems in which what the individuals get depends on what they receive or pay qua members of generally overlapping groups. We solve the constrained equalization problem for this class of models. The paper ends up comparing our solution with the alternative solution based on the Shapley value, which (...) has been recommended in some distributive applications. (shrink)
Some contractualist egalitarians try to accommodate a concern for numbers by embracing a pluralist strategy. They incorporate the belief that the number of people affected matters for what distribution one ought to bring about by arguing that their primary contractualist concern for justifiability to each may be outweighed by aggregative considerations. The present contribution offers two arguments against such a pluralist strategy. First, I argue that advo- cates of the pluralist strategy are forced to abandon the rationale behind the criterion (...) of universal acceptability. Second, I show that pluralist contractualists will be unable to avoid the dreaded conclusion that originally motivated their contractualism. Ultimately, these arguments matter for the nature of egalitarian- ism. They should give those in search of sound distributive principles a reason to make sense of their egalitarian commitment in a non-contractualist way. If a sound set of distributive principles includes comparative and relational princi- ples, while contractualist egalitarianism does not lend itself to being pluralistically combined with non-individualist principles, telic egalitarianism may after all be part of the truth in distributive ethics. (shrink)
In an important piece of work Derek Parfit distinguishes two different forms of egalitarianism, ‘Deontic’ and ‘Telic’. He contrasts these with what he calls the Priority View, which is not strictly a form of egalitarianism at all, since it is not essentially concerned with how well off people are relative to each other. His main aim is to generate an adequate taxonomy of the positions available, but in the process he draws attention to some of the different problems (...) they face. I shall argue that there are forms of egalitarianism overlooked by Parfit which avoid the problems encountered by Deontic and Telic Egalitarians. (shrink)
Drawing on social psychological evidence showing that the perspective from which the economically advantaged and disadvantaged view economic inequalities matters a great deal for how they are appraised, for when they are considered unfair, and for what evidentiary standards individuals rely upon to reach their conclusions, we argue that choice egalitarianism is unsuitable for articulating the demands of justice when people not only disagree about the causes of inequality but also have motivated reasons to adopt different standards for appraising (...) its fairness. Because choice egalitarianism requires us to take a stand on the causes of inequality it is an unsuitable ideal. This is a serious shortcoming when we are interested in getting people to assume collective responsibility for doing something about inequality in the real world. (shrink)
Luck egalitarianism is an approach within current distributive justice theory which aims to focus redistributive efforts solely upon disadvantages that ensue from bad luck. This article considers how central assumptions and themes of both luck egalitarianism and its critics parallel those of providence theology and share some of their concerns. These relate to problems such as the basis of equality, the extent and nature of our knowledge, and of course, the paternalism that assessing people’s responsibility over their own (...) disadvantages involves. I highlight the similarity of luck egalitarianism to the role of providence and providence theory thinking, and particularly the tension between egalitarianism as a theological concept and the condescension inherent to imitatio Dei ethics. I approach these issues by analyzing standard criticisms of the luck egalitarian project, espoused by Susan Hurley and Elizabeth Anderson. I then proceed to assess the values of luck egalitarianism itself and consider different models of providence, and the meaning of this analysis for normative ethics. The subject matter of this article is part of a wider comparison of distributive justice and providence theory, within which luck egalitarianism affords a very fruitful and highly relevant case study. (shrink)
Cosmopolitans believe that all human beings have equal moral worth and that our responsibilities to others do not stop at borders. Various cosmopolitans offer different interpretations of how we should understand what is entailed by that equal moral worth and what responsibilities we have to each other in taking our equality seriously. Two suggestions are that a cosmopolitan should endorse a 'global difference principle' and a 'principle of global equality of opportunity'. In the first part of this paper I examine (...) whether these two suggestions are compelling. I argue against a global difference principle, but for an alternative 'needs-based minimum floor principle' (where these are not coextensive, as I explain). I develop a model of cosmopolitan justice, which allows us to address not only matters of global distributive justice, but other global justice issues as well. Though I support what I refer to as a negative version of the global equality of opportunity principle, I argue that a more positive version of the ideal remains elusive. In the second part of this paper, I reflect on what bearing these results have on two central sets of questions: First, what kind of ideal are we after in the domain of cosmopolitan justice and what practical implications can we reasonably expect from it? Second, what sort of ideal of egalitarianism is compelling and does my model of cosmopolitan justice adequately reflect the legitimate concerns of egalitarians? (shrink)