Utilitas 33 (4):422-441 (2021)

Dick Timmer
Dortmund University
Despite the prominence of thresholds in theories of distributive justice, there is no general account of what sort of role is played by the idea of a threshold within such theories. This has allowed an ongoing lack of clarity and misunderstanding around views that employ thresholds. In this article, I develop an account of the concept of thresholds in distributive justice. I argue that this concept contains three elements, which threshold views deploy when ranking possible distributions. These elements are (i) the level of the threshold, (ii) what constitutes the value of the threshold, and (iii) how benefits above and below the threshold must be allocated. I highlight three contributions that this particular account of thresholds makes: it clarifies the nature of the shift that occurs at the threshold; it resolves a common misunderstanding about headcount principles; and it shows how the arbitrariness objection can be met.
Keywords Thresholds  Sufficientarianism  Distributive justice  Political philosophy  Limitarianism
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DOI 10.1017/s0953820821000194
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References found in this work BETA

What is the Point of Equality.Elizabeth Anderson - 1999 - Ethics 109 (2):287-337.
Why Sufficiency is Not Enough.Paula Casal - 2007 - Ethics 117 (2):296-326.
Sufficiency: Restated and Defended.Robert Huseby - 2010 - Journal of Political Philosophy 18 (2):178-197.
Sufficiency and the Threshold Question.Robert Huseby - 2020 - The Journal of Ethics 24 (2):207-223.

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Citations of this work BETA

Why Limitarianism?Ingrid Robeyns - 2022 - Wiley: Journal of Political Philosophy 30 (2):249-270.
Thresholds and Limits in Theories of Distributive Justice (Thesis Summary).Dick Timmer - 2022 - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 15 (1).

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