Luck egalitarianism and prioritarianism

Ethics 110 (2):339-349 (2000)
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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



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Richard J. Arneson
University of California, San Diego

Citations of this work

What is Egalitarianism?Samuel Scheffler - 2003 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 31 (1):5-39.
Global justice, reciprocity, and the state.Andrea Sangiovanni - 2007 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 35 (1):3–39.
Luck Egalitarianism.Carl Knight - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (10):924-934.
Justice and the priority of politics to morality.Andrea Sangiovanni - 2007 - Journal of Political Philosophy 16 (2):137–164.
Justice and the Priority of Politics to Morality.Andrea Sangiovanni - 2008 - Journal of Political Philosophy 16 (2):137-164.

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