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Egalitarianism with a human face

Wollner, G.; (2011) Egalitarianism with a human face. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

My thesis vindicates the ideal of egalitarianism with a human face by answering the threefold challenge that contemporary egalitarians fail to capture what really matters when it comes to distributions of burdens and benefits among human beings, that egalitarian concerns apply only within specific institutional contexts, and that there is no account of human nature that would furnish a commitment to distributive equality with a coherent foundation. The ideal of egalitarianism with a human face marks a turn against both non-egalitarian variants of humanism and non-humanist variants of egalitarianism. My thesis is divided into three parts. The first set of arguments offers a powerful line of reasoning in support of the claim that our concern for the wellbeing of other people is egalitarian. I argue that the principle of equality is in two important respects superior to both the priority view and a contractualist commitment to strict priority. The second set of arguments maintains that whether or not our concern for other people is egalitarian does not depend on wether individuals share a common institution. I argue against the recently prominent idea that whether some are worse off than others matters only among individuals who stand in a particular relation to each other. The final set of arguments advocates a common humanity account of basic equality. I argue that the idea of common humanity offers a promising approach to many of the problems associated with the question of basic equality and may be invoked in support of the claim that nobody should be better or worse off than anybody else through no choice or fault of his or her own.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Egalitarianism with a human face
Language:English
Additional information:Copyright restricted material has been removed from the e-thesis.

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