Is Poverty Eradication Impossible? No, Says Dignitarianism


In this article, I reply to three discussions of Poverty, Ethics and Justice that are published in this symposium of the Journal. In my book I argued for a moral obligation on the part of the state and an array of other agents to eradicate poverty, but critics maintain that doing so would be impossible, either because it would logically contradict the liberal ends of the state, or because it would undermine a robust commitment to democratic choice, or because it would be inconsistent with the attempt to control climate change. Here I provide a comprehensive reply to all three in light of a political philosophy of the state as fundamentally obligated to respect human dignity, where the latter is not reducible to autonomy, but is instead grounded on a much broader conception of human nature.

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Hennie Lötter
University of Johannesburg

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