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Equality and Legitimacy$
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Wojciech Sadurski

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199545179

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199545179.001.0001

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Social Equality (II): Luck Egalitarianism and Its Limits

Social Equality (II): Luck Egalitarianism and Its Limits

Chapter:
(p.187) 5 Social Equality (II): Luck Egalitarianism and Its Limits
Source:
Equality and Legitimacy
Author(s):

Wojciech Sadurski

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199545179.003.0005

The leading discourse about luck egalitarianism has been informed by the distinction between equality of welfare and equality of resources. This chapter illuminates its significance by focusing on the status of individual preferences — in particular, preferences which are particularly costly to satisfy. It then considers another distinction: that between ‘persons’ and ‘circumstances’ to see how it correlates with the central moral intuition which triggers the egalitarian approach, namely that social inequalities should be allowed to reflect the choices people make in the course of their lives. If we consistently affirm the centrality of choice, we may well realize that the gap between ‘equality of welfare’ and ‘equality of resources’ is not as wide as many theorists of luck egalitarianism would have us believe. The chapter claims that the aspiration to eliminate systemically the impact of bad luck is truly egalitarian, but only contingently rather than inherently and necessarily.

Keywords:   justice, social justice, equality of resources, equality of welfare, responsibility, paternalism, Ronald Dworkin

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