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Social Philosophy Today

Volume 37, 2021

Respect, Social Action, and #MeToo

Farhan Lakhany
Pages 127-151

Outcasts and Relational Egalitarianism

Most individuals desire a more egalitarian society but figuring out what that would mean and how to get there is unclear. Elizabeth Anderson’s relational egalitarianism is one approach to understanding what building a more egalitarian society would mean; this article will agree with her analysis but will highlight how, in attempting to achieve that goal, some serious issues arise. Specifically, Anderson mentions that a consequence of her view would be the elimination of “outcasts” as a status of social groups and how this leads to a tension between promoting social relationships as a primary good and respecting autonomy and privacy. This article will attempt to navigate this tension by providing a close analysis of how outcasts are created and clearly articulating how the elimination of such a group status creates the aforementioned tension. The upshot of the analysis is a sketch of a positive proposal that avoids the tension and makes progress toward the elimination of outcasts as a social group.