Wel aen dan, wie van ons had oyt Broots ghebrek, en was te ghelijk bekommert om de Booter?
(Pray tell me, who of us was ever in need of bread, and at the same time worried about the butter?)
Franciscus van den Enden (1992:204; my translation)
Types of equalisandaIn the preceding chapters I argued that minimal justice is concerned with the protection of the inalienable rights to a recipient's natural endowments and with the distribution of complex rights to basic needs and further wants. We have also uncovered several grounds of recipiency. Yet we are not quite ready to give practical sense to the basic maxim of justice, the demand that equals get an equal treatment and that unequals are treated in proportion to their inequality. We cannot treat equals equally:
|(a) as long as the rights that recipients get have only a purely subjective meaning, a meaning that cannot be communicated given uncertainty about the identity or comparability of different persons's feelings; |
|(b) as long as the meanings of rights are measured by different and incompatible standards; or |
|(c) as long as we cannot compare the positions of individuals relative to one another. |
These three interpretations of equality in terms of (a) interpersonal comparisons, (b) one-dimensional measurement and (c) intersubjectivity in senses differing from (a) and (b) offer three possible ways to design equalisanda. In this chapter I shall be concerned with the quest for an intersubjectively acceptable measure for (in)equality, an equalisandum.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Imperfection and Impartiality: A Liberal Theory of Social Justice.
Contributors: Marcel Wissenburg - Author.
Publisher: UCL Press.
Place of publication: London.
Publication year: 1999.
Page number: 183.
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