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Displaying: 61-70 of 766 documents

61. Philosophical Topics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Joseph Fishkin, The How of Unequal Opportunity
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This essay argues that we ought to think differently about unequal opportunity. Instead of focusing only on overall prospects in life, we ought to train our attention on the particular moments of decision and the particular developmental processes that shape, in different respects, the trajectories of people’s lives. A new wave of research in the social sciences makes possible this shift in focus, which will have profound implications for our understanding of both the concept of equal opportunity itself and its applications in public policy and law.
62. Philosophical Topics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Kristi A. Olson, Our Choices, Our Wage Gap?
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According to recent empirical studies, much, if not all, of the gender wage gap is attributable to individual choice. Women tend to choose lower-paying jobs and to prioritize family over career while men tend to do the opposite. This has led some policymakers to conclude that the gender wage gap does not require rectification. Although feminists have typically responded by refuting the empirical claim, I argue in this essay that they should also refute the normative claim. In particular, individual choice does not exonerate the gender wage gap if the options from which women and men choose are biased in favor of men. Yet, despite extensive research on individual choice, virtually no attention has been paid to the effect of the state’s choice of regulatory regime on the gender wage gap. Inthis essay, I suggest some of the mechanisms—e.g., licensing laws and scope of practice restrictions—that could potentially bias wages in favor of men.
63. Philosophical Topics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Erin I. Kelly, Desert and Fairness in Criminal Justice
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Moral condemnation has become the public narrative of our criminal justice practices, but the distribution of criminal sanctions is not and should not be guided by judgments of what individual wrongdoers morally deserve. Criteria for evaluating a person’s liability to criminal sanctions are general standards that are influenced by how we understand the relative social urgency and priority of reducing crimes of various types. These standards thus depend on considerations that are not a matter of individual moral desert. Furthermore, the moral desert is doubtful when members of socially disadvantaged groups face unequal prospects for being subjected to criminal justice sanctions. Social injustice is an intolerable context for distributing punishment according to individual desert. A rightsprotectingscheme of criminal justice might permissibly burden individual offenders, but not as an expression of what they morally deserve.
64. Philosophical Topics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Eszter Kollar, Daniele Santoro, Not by Bread Alone: Inequality, Relative Deprivation, and Self-Respect
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Inequality causes a variety of social ills, which give egalitarians reasons for concerns of justice. In particular, inequality is deemed to undermine people’s fundamental moral capacity of self-respect. In this paper, we explore the complex relationship between inequality and self-respect from a philosophical and an empirical angle, arguing that a theory of justice should take both into account. To this purpose, we first clarify the normative objection to inequality from the alleged erosion of self-respect. Then, we elaborate on empirical findings showing the crucial role that ‘relative deprivation’ plays in the causal mechanism that connects inequalities to the erosion of self-respect. We conclude that this role is best understood in philosophical terms as a form of deprivation that affects thesignificance that people attach to the value of the choices they make.
65. Philosophical Topics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Fabian Schuppert, Suffering from Social Inequality: Normative Implications of Empirical Research on the Effects of Inequality
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Empirical research shows the significant negative effects inequality has on aspects such as public health, vulnerability to violence, and social trust. While the majority of researchers agree that there exist specific social determinants of health (SDH) as well as a distinct social gradient in health (SGH), there is wide disagreement both over what the exact causal relationship between social inequalities and health is, and what the adequate policy responses especially to the SGH are. For policy-oriented theorists, the question arises which (if any) normative implications these empirical findings offer for philosophers working on equality.This paper argues that the first lesson philosophers should take away from the empirical literature is that the issue that needs to be addressed is harmful social inequality, rather than unequal material distributions, or unequal opportunities and starting gates as such. That is to say, inequality with respect to a specific feature X (such as material distributions, or opportunities) is not—in itself—the problem, but the problem are the negative effects of certain harmful forms of complex social inequalities. For our normative analysis this entails that we should focus on the conceptualization of the ideal of social equality, and the kinds of relationships and institutional arrangements compatible with it.
66. Philosophical Topics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen, Democratic Egalitarianism versus Luck Egalitarianism: What Is at Stake?
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This paper takes a fresh look at Elizabeth Anderson’s democratic egalitarianism and its relation to luck egalitarianism in the light of recent trends toward greater socioeconomic inequality. Anderson’s critique of luck egalitarianism and her alternative ideal of democratic equality are set out. It is then argued that the former is not very powerful, and that the latter is vulnerable to many of Anderson’s criticisms of luck egalitarianism. The paper also seeks to show that, on many of the issues over which Anderson disagrees with luck egalitarians, the latter can adopt the view she canvasses without abandoning their luck egalitarianism. At most, her critique shows that we have reason to prefer some views within the luck egalitarian family over others—not that we have reason to reject luck egalitarianismas such.
67. Philosophical Topics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Alex Gourevitch, Debt, Freedom, and Inequality
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In contemporary society, private debt has substituted for other ways of financing the consumption of basic social goods like housing, education, and medical care. This is at least partially due to increased inequality, which has allowed costs to rise faster than median incomes, as well as due to stagnating public provisions. Debt-financed access to basic goods is problematic because it creates new kinds of unfreedom and undermines the value of the freedoms that the indebted do manage to keep or acquire. Debt-financing qualifies freedom in this way by placing certain kinds of conditions on our acquisition and consumption of the goods that we buy. These conditions compromise the very freedom that we seek and value when acquiring and consuming these goods. It does so, first, by transferring the burden of providing basic goods from the public to private individuals, thereby further constraining those who already face the most constraints in accessing basic goods. And, second, the conditional character of debt-financed consumption undermines the value that we attach to having basic social goods. At the very least, this gives us strong reasons to want to regulate the conditions that creditors can place on debtors, at least with respect to basic social goods. Further, at best, the most desirable alternative to debt-financed consumption is the unconditional public provision of basic goods like housing, education, and medical care.
68. Philosophical Topics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Richard Arneson, Rethinking Luck Egalitarianism and Unacceptable Inequalities
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Luck egalitarianism is a social justice doctrine that holds that it is morally bad and unfair if some people are worse off than others through no fault or choice of their own. The doctrine has attracted criticisms. G. A. Cohen has defended luck egalitarianism without conceding ground to its critics by affirming that some inequalities that egalitarian justice principles do not condemn are nonetheless incompatible with an antimarket ideal of community that we should accept and—subject to feasibility constraints—implement. This essay denies that luck egalitarianism as construed by Cohen is ethically defensible. For starters, equality of condition is not per se morally desirable. The criticism that luck egalitarianism is too harsh in the treatment it urges for those who are in peril as a result of their own fault or choice remains cogent when directed at Cohen’s reformulation. It remains possible that the inequalities Cohen finds to be per se undesirable are in fact instrumentally undesirable.
69. Philosophical Topics: Volume > 39 > Issue: 2
Roger Berkowitz, “The Angry Jew has Gotten His Revenge”: Hannah Arendt on Revenge and Reconciliation
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Sholom Schwartzbard killed Simon Petlura in an act of revenge. He admitted his crime and a French jury acquitted him in 1927. For Hannah Arendt, Schwartzbard’s actions show that revenge can, in certain circumstances, be in the service of justice. This paper explores Hannah Arendt’s distinction between reconciliation and revenge and argues that Hannah Arendt embraces revenge as one way in which politics and justice can happen in the world, but only under certain conditions. First, Arendt only endorses revenge when the crime calling forth vengeance is extraordinary, one that bursts the bounds of traditional legality. Second, the avenger must give himself up for judgment to the legal system, asking a jury to judge whether his extraordinary act was just even though it wasillegal. These are strict conditions and will only rarely be met. When they are, revenge can be a profoundly political act in the service of justice, one that can restore a broken political order.
70. Philosophical Topics: Volume > 39 > Issue: 2
Daniel Cole, A Defense of Hannah Arendt’s “Reflections on Little Rock”
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In this paper, I will attempt a defense of Hannah Arendt’s usage of the social/political distinction in her “Reflections on Little Rock,” demonstrating that not only is it tenable but also helpful. After distinguishing between her (in)famous distinction between the social and political spheres, I will use the notions of “power,” which is compatible with political freedom, and “force,” which is not, to analyze the strategy of governmentally enforced integration. What I hope to show is that althoughschools are of the utmost political importance, governmental force cannot solve social prejudice, and it cannot legitimately be used outside of the sphere of establishing and protecting legal equality. I will further elucidate Arendt’s illustrative passage on how an integration effort might politically engage problems of exclusion and inequality in schools without having to resort to force to solve social problems and without reducing politics to instrumental administration.