Equality and priority

Utilitas 17 (3):299-309 (2005)
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This article argues that, contrary to the received view, prioritarianism and egalitarianism are not jointly incompatible theories in normative ethics. By introducing a distinction between weighing and aggregating, the authors show that the seemingly conflicting intuitions underlying prioritarianism and egalitarianism are consistent. The upshot is a combined position, equality-prioritarianism, which takes both prioritarian and egalitarian considerations into account in a technically precise manner. On this view, the moral value of a distribution of well-being is a product of two factors: the sum of all individuals' priority-adjusted well-being, and a measure of the equality of the distribution in question. Some implications of equality-prioritarianism are considered.



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Author Profiles

Martin Peterson
Texas A&M University
Sven Ove Hansson
Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm

Citations of this work

The Prospects for Sufficientarianism.Liam Shields - 2012 - Utilitas 24 (1):101-117.
In defense of priority.Shlomi Segall - 2015 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 14 (4):343-364.
The Equivalence of Egalitarianism and Prioritarianism.Karin Enflo - 2022 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 22 (1).

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