What’s Wrong with Equality of Opportunity

Philosophical Topics 48 (2):223-244 (2020)
  Copy   BIBTEX


How do we know if people are equal? Contemporary philosophers consider a number of issues when determining if the goals of egalitarian distributive justice have been achieved: defining the metric of equality; determining whether the goal is equality, or simply priority or sufficiency; establishing whether there should be conditions, e.g. bad brute luck, for the amelioration of inequality. In all this, most egalitarians contend that what is to be equalized is not people’s actual shares of the good in question, but rather, the opportunities to have such shares. I counter this view with an ‘egalitarian flourishing’ approach that, in seeking to make people equal in actual well-being, takes exception to the role of opportunity in contemporary argument. The flourishing view means a focus on outcomes, on how people live, in order to enable people to live equally flourishing lives. I argue that if we consider the complex dynamics of choice and circumstance, the role of nonmaterial considerations and the ideal of an egalitarian community, equality of opportunity proves to be an inadequate approach to the realization of the egalitarian ideal.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 77,712

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Equality.Christine Pierce - 1973 - The Monist 57 (1):1-11.
Equality.Christine Pierce - 1973 - The Monist 57 (1):1-11.
When Beliefs Wrong.Mark Schroeder - 2018 - Philosophical Topics 46 (1):115-127.
Asking Too Much.Garrett Cullity - 2003 - The Monist 86 (3):402 - 418.
Nietzschean equality.Randall Havas - 2005 - Philosophical Topics 33 (2):89-117.
Nietzschean Equality.Randall Havas - 2005 - Philosophical Topics 33 (2):89-117.
If Meinong Is Wrong, Is McTaggart Right?James Van Cleve - 1996 - Philosophical Topics 24 (1):231-254.
Political Equality and the Islamic State.Noah Feldman - 2002 - Philosophical Topics 30 (2):253-272.
Aquinas and Analogy: Where Cajetan Went Wrong.Ralph Mcinerny - 1992 - Philosophical Topics 20 (2):103-124.
The value in equal opportunity: Reply to Kershnar.John O'dea - 2007 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 24 (2):177–187.
Defining Evil.Stephen de Wijze - 2002 - The Monist 85 (2):210-238.
Equality and the Rights of Women. [REVIEW]Christine Pierce - 1984 - Philosophical Review 93 (1):93-97.


Added to PP

13 (#774,822)

6 months
8 (#115,608)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Christine Sypnowich
Queen's University

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references