Journal of Social Philosophy 37 (3):423–440 (2006)

Roland Pierik
University of Amsterdam
Two of the most important theories in contemporary liberal egalitarianism are Ronald Dworkin’s equality of resources and Amartya Sen’s capability approach. Recently Dworkin has claimed that Sen’s capability approach does not provide a genuine alternative to equality of resources. In this article, we provide both an internal and an external critique of Dworkin’s claim. In the first part of the article we develop an internal critique by providing a detailed analysis of Dworkin’s claim. Andrew Williams has contested Dworkin’s claim, but he has failed to convince Dworkin of his objections. We analyze this debate, and offer an argument that, we hope, settles this dispute. In the second part of the article we argue that an analysis beyond the current parameters of the liberal-egalitarian debate points to three significant differences between Dworkin’s and Sen’s egalitarian theories: the degree to which they rely on an ideal-theoretical approach; their ability to judge social structures that are intertwined with people’s social endowments; and their endorsement of a well-defined criterion to demarcate morally relevant from morally irrelevant inequalities. This broader analysis not only reinforces our conclusion that Dworkin’s equality of resources and Sen’s capability approach are genuinely distinct, but it also suggests some more general insights that may be relevant for a better understanding of contemporary egalitarian thinking.
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9833.2006.00346.x
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References found in this work BETA

What is Egalitarianism?Samuel Scheffler - 2003 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 31 (1):5-39.
"Sovereign Virtue" Revisited.Ronald Dworkin - 2002 - Ethics 113 (1):106-143.
Equality of Whom? Social Groups and Judgments of Injustice.Iris Marion Young - 2001 - Journal of Political Philosophy 9 (1):1–18.
Reparations for the Future.Leif Wenar - 2006 - Journal of Social Philosophy 37 (3):396–405.

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Citations of this work BETA

Reparations and Egalitarianism.Megan Blomfield - 2021 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (5):1177-1195.
What Is Neutrality?Roland Pierik & Wibren Van der Burg - 2014 - Ratio Juris 27 (4):496-515.

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