Volume 39, Issue 1, January 2013
Frej Klem Thomsen
But Some Groups Are More Equal Than Others
A Critical Review of the Group-Criterion in the Concept of Discrimination
In this article I critically examine a standard feature in conceptions of discrimination: the group-criterion, specifically the idea that there is a limited and definable
group of traits that can form the basis of discrimination. I review two types of argument for the criterion. One focuses on inherently relevant groups and relies ultimately on luck-egalitarian principles; the other focuses on contextually relevant groups and relies ultimately on the badness of outcomes. I conclude that as neither type of argument is convincing, the criterion is morally arbitrary, and as such untenable. Finally, I suggest both some of the conceptual and some of the practical implications of abandoning the criterion.