Luck Egalitarianism: Equality, Responsibility, and Justice

By Carl Knight | Go to book overview

Conclusion
A More Efficient Luck Egalitarianism

Luck egalitarianism is now something of a default position among philosophical egalitarians, with a whole industry of articles and, increasingly,1 books focusing on its core idea of making equality respond to individuals’ responsible action. But is this elevated place in the academy deserved? Is this core idea outright mistaken?

It might well be wondered where the apparent success of responsibility-catering prioritarianism leaves luck egalitarianism. I argued that restricted responsibilitarianism–the principle that persons should receive what they are responsible for, except where giving them something they are not responsible for disadvantages nobody –is clearly responsibility sensitive, though not fully so. Given my position that responsibilitarianism and luck egalitarianism are, in all the interesting cases, one and the same thing, it might well be supposed that restricted responsibilitarianism is also significantly luck egalitarian. This is, strictly speaking, quite right. But it should be recalled that the regards in which restricted responsibilitarianism departs from responsibilitarianism include those regards in which responsibilitarian is most obviously egalitarian, in particular cases of levelling down. While it may be quite legitimate to say that restricted responsibilitarianism is luck egalitarian to a large extent, and also that luck egalitarianism is substantively egalitarian, it does not follow that restricted responsibilitarianism is substantively egalitarian.

Responsibility-catering prioritarianism as a whole is obviously less luck egalitarian than restricted responsibilitarianism, since the two other components of it are neither substantively egalitarian nor concerned with responsibility. Even so, responsibility-catering prioritarianism is not only egalitarian in the weak sense described in section 3.1, but also in the sense I described as ‘contemporary egalitarian’. That is, it would in most circumstances recommend the ‘liberal’ (US sense) policies described at the outset of section 3.5; and even where it does not recommend them, contemporary egalitarians might be persuaded that there are good reasons (particularly concerning

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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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