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Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 24, 1999

Louis P. Pojman
Pages 193-245

A Plethora of Theories

The dominant contemporary political theory is egalitarianism, yet egalitarians seldom give a clear justification of their position. In this paper I examine such questions as, What is egalitarianism all about? What is so attractive about equality? And what is the proper criterion? What do egalitarians want to equalize and why? My primary hypothesis is that current egalitarian theories either illicitly attempt to derive substantive conclusions from formal notions or, if they are substantive, are beset with weighty objections. A corollary is the hypothesis that the idea of equality is an empty, rhetorical notion, one that, with one possible exception, does no useful philosophical work.

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