Individual Valuing of Social Equality in Political and Personal Relationships

Review of Philosophy and Psychology 13 (1):177-196 (2022)
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Abstract

Social egalitarianism holds that individuals ought to have equal power over outcomes within relationships. Egalitarian philosophers have argued for this ideal by appealing to features of political society. This way of grounding the social egalitarian principle renders it dependent on empirical facts about political culture. In particular, egalitarians have argued that social equality matters to citizens in political relationships in a way analogous to the value of equality in a marriage. In this paper, we show how egalitarian philosophers are committed to psychological premises, and then illustrate how to test the social egalitarian’s empirical claims. Using a nationally representative survey experiment, we find that citizens will sometimes prioritize equality over competing values, but that the weight of social equality diminishes when moving from personal to political cases. These findings raise questions for thinking about how to explain the normative significance of social equality.

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Against Democracy: New Preface.Jason Brennan - 2016 - Princeton University Press.
What is the Point of Equality.Elizabeth Anderson - 1999 - Ethics 109 (2):287-337.
Political Liberalism.J. Rawls - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.

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