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Gheaus, Anca, , . Hikers in Flip-Flops: Luck Egalitarianism, Democratic Equality and the Distribuenda of Justice
2016, Journal of Applied Philosophy 33(1): Early Online.
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Added by: Carl Fox, Contributed by:

Abstract: The article has two aims. First, to show that a version of luck egalitarianism that includes relational goods amongst its distribuenda can, as a matter of internal logic, account for one of the core beliefs of relational egalitarianism. Therefore, there will be important extensional overlap, at the level of domestic justice, between luck egalitarianism and relational egalitarianism. This is an important consideration in assessing the merits of and relationship between the two rival views. Second, to provide some support for including relational goods, including those advocated by relational egalitarianism, on the distribuenda of justice and therefore to put in a good word for the overall plausibility of this conception of justice. I show why relational egalitarians, too, have reason to sympathise with this proposal.

Comment: Interesting contribution to the literature on distributive justice. Argues that luck egalitarianism can incorporate a key concern of relational egalitarians, i.e. egalitarian political relationships, as a particular good to be distibuted, thus narrowing the distinction between the views and making it less significant. Would make good further reading for anyone working on the debate between luck and relational egalitarians.

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Hurley, Susan, , . Luck and Equality
2001, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 75: 51-72.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Abstract: I argue that the aim to neutralize the influence of luck on distribution cannot provide a basis for egalitarianism: it can neither specify nor justify an egalitarian distribution. Luck and responsibility can play a role in determining what justice requires to be redistributed, but from this we cannot derive how to distribute: we cannot derive a pattern of distribution from the ‘currency’ of distributive justice. I argue that the contrary view faces a dilemma, according to whether it understands luck in interpersonal or counterfactual terms.

Comment: Useful as further reading on distributive justice, especially in connection to Ronald Dworkin’s resource-egalitarian theory and Gerald Cohen’s egalitarianism.

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Schouten, Gina, , . Restricting Justice: Political Interventions in the Home and in the Market
2013, Philosophy and Public Affairs 41 (4):357-388.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Harry Brighouse

Abstract: Liberal theorists of justice like John Rawls have long maintained that a theory of justice should apply primarily to the institutional mechanisms of society, and only derivatively to the behavior of individuals within institutions. Institutions of taxation, for example, may be just or unjust by the lights of a theory of justice, but such a theory should deem the behavior of individuals unjust only insofar as that behavior undermines just institutions. As Rawls puts it, ‘we are to comply with and to do our share in just institutions when they exist and apply to us, [and] we are to assist in the establishment of just arrangements when they do not exist.’1 Critics of this restricted conception of justice (hereafter RCJ) argue that a theory of justice should judge individual behavior directly, even when that behavior complies with just institutions. These critics have tended to focus on two kinds of behavior that they argue should fall within the subject matter of a theory of justice: the ‘market-maximizing’ behavior of economic agents who demand incentives to exercise marketable talents in socially beneficial ways, and the ‘housework-shirking’ behavior of family members who distribute power and labor unequally according to gender. These critics argue that RCJ implausibly places these behaviors beyond the reach of justice. Call this the ‘restrictiveness objection’ to RCJ. A second objection to RCJ threatens to undermine RCJ from within: this criticism alleges that RCJ is arbitrary, because the theorists who embrace it lack a principled justification for restricting the subject matter of their theories to institutions while exempting the behavior of individuals within those institutions. Call this the ‘arbitrariness objection’ to RCJ. My project in this article is to defend RCJ against both objections. Along the way, I consider and reject an alternative strategy for defending RCJ, but I use insights gleaned from the inadequacies of this rival strategy to build my own defense against the two objections: working from within the framework of political liberalism, I demonstrate first that a theory of justice can nonarbitrarily be restricted to the basic structure, or the institutional structure by which ‘the major social institutions distribute fundamental rights and duties and determine the division of advantages from social cooperation,’ and second that such a restriction does not result in an implausibly narrow subject matter of justice. I conclude that neither objection undermines RCJ. I do not defend RCJ as it has typically been understood, however. A crucial premise in my argument is that the delineation of the basic structure is itself a substantive normative task, the performance of which must be responsive to relevant differences among enactments of political power. I argue for a more expansive notion of legitimate political power than either critics or defenders of RCJ have tended to adopt. My defense of RCJ thus occupies a conceptual middle ground within the debate about the subject matter of justice: With defenders of RCJ, I maintain that a theory of justice applies directly only to the basic structure of society, such that a society with just institutions may be fully just even though housework-shirking and market-maximizing occur within it. But I agree with critics of RCJ that market-maximizing and housework-shirking should not be beyond the reach of a theory of justice. I reconcile these convictions by defending a view of political legitimacy according to which housework-shirking and market-maximizing can be targets of legitimate political interventions. While a society is not made less just by the mere occurrence of housework-shirking and market-maximizing, it can be less just for having a basic structure that enables or encourages these behaviors.

Comment: Major contribution to the debate within political philosophy about what constitutes the subject of justice. Schouten shows why a political liberal is bound to use a restricted conception of the basic structure as the subject of justice, and yet also shows that, even on this restricted conception, considerable interventions to undermine the gendered division of labor within the family are not just permissible but required.

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Stemplowska, Zofia, , . Rescuing Luck Egalitarianism
2013, Journal of Social Philosophy 44(4): 402-419.
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Added by: Carl Fox, Contributed by:

Introduction: There was once a luck egalitarian school of thought, according to which disadvantage arising due to bad luck was unjust—at the bar of egalitarian justice—while disadvantage arising due to choice was just, at least if the choice was exercised against the background of equal options. “Choice” in this context needed to be “genuine choice”—which, for some, meant “voluntary,” and for others, also “freely willed”—but if it was genuine, then it did not matter whether it was a silly mistake or a considered course of action: if it led to disadvantage, its presence was deemed sufficient to justify leaving the agent to bear the disadvantage. Let’s call the view that choice leading to disadvantage is sufficient to justify the disadvantage, at least if choice was exercised against the background of equal options, the inflated view of choice. […] The inflated view was so crude that in the face of criticism pointing out its crudeness, its supporters have adopted more sophisticated views, and no recent luck egalitarian has defended the crude version. These more sophisticated views recognize that the mere fact that an outcome has been chosen does not make the outcome just—not even by the standards of egalitarian justice alone.

In what follows, I will argue that this dominant reading of early luck egalitarianism as committed to the inflated view is, at best, a one-sided interpretation of the iconic writings of the luck egalitarian literature advanced by its most famous proponents, namely Arneson, Cohen, and Dworkin. Their writings did not unambiguously point toward the inflated view; if the early texts were interpreted more charitably, we could have, perhaps, avoided associating luck egalitarianism with the inflated view, arriving immediately at the sophisticated versions of luck egalitarianism dominating the field today.

Comment: Defends luck egalitarianism in general, and the originators of the view in particular, from the common criticism that it is committed to the ‘inflated view of choice’ which generates unpalatable conclusions because it leaves people who have made choices to bear all the consequences of those choices. Would make good further reading for anyone working on this topic.

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