Luck Egalitarianism: Equality, Responsibility, and Justice

By Carl Knight | Go to book overview

6
The Components of Justice

1. Introductory Remarks

We have found that the problems that critics most identify with luck egalitarianism are more illusory than real. Both its egalitarian and responsibilitarian credentials appear to be quite solid. Furthermore, reasons have been given for doubting some writers’ confidence that their favoured theories are unproblematically egalitarian (for example, Anderson’s ‘democratic equality’) or responsibility sensitive (for example, right libertarianism). It has been maintained that, in normal circumstances, luck egalitarianism (or a view with identical implications in those circumstances) is the only truly responsibilitarian show in town. The field of egalitarian rivals has also been thinned; and although there is no reason for doubting that various outcome-egalitarian theories (for example, equality of welfare) are substantively egalitarian, such theories suffer once responsibility considerations are brought into the picture. In short, luck egalitarianism appears to be the best way of accommodating both equality and responsibility sensitivity in a theory of distributive justice.

Although this finding is significant, it cannot be the final word on the theory. There may be more to distributive justice than equality and responsibility sensitivity. In this final chapter I will take into account further demands of justice–principally, those concerning absolute (non-comparative) levels of advantage–which show luck egalitarianism to be deficient in certain significant and less significant respects.

The most prominent deficiency of the latter variety was mentioned in 4.4. It was shown that luck egalitarianism is in principle open to leaving the negligent to their fates, even where this treatment may strike us as somehow disproportionate to the ‘offence’. As noted there, and in 4.6, this ‘Bad Samaritanism’ is not much of a problem in practice; but Chapter 4 left the theoretical problem unaddressed, as the focus was on the largely practical issue of whether luck egalitarianism satisfied the third condition for substantive egalitarianism.

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Luck Egalitarianism: Equality, Responsibility, and Justice
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Acknowledgements iv
  • Introduction - Equality, Responsibility, and Justice 1
  • Part 1 - Luck Egalitarianisms 11
  • 1 - Equality of Resources 13
  • 2 - Equal Opportunity for Welfare 44
  • Part 2 - Luck Egalitarianism as an Account of Equality 87
  • 3 - Substantive Equality 89
  • 4 - Insult and Injury 122
  • Part 3 - Luck Egalitarianism as an Account of Justice 167
  • 5 - Responsibilitarianism 169
  • 6 - The Components of Justice 197
  • Conclusion - A More Efficient Luck Egalitarianism 229
  • Bibliography 234
  • Index 246
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