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The Egalitarian ConscienceEssays in Honour of G. A. Cohen$
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Christine Sypnowich

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199281688

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199281688.001.0001

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Justice, Responsibility, and the Demands of Equality

Justice, Responsibility, and the Demands of Equality

(p.70) 4 Justice, Responsibility, and the Demands of Equality
The Egalitarian Conscience

T. M. Scanlon

Oxford University Press

This essay considers the disagreement between Cohen and Rawls on the question of whether individuals should be held responsible for their tastes and preferences. It notes the difference in principle, since the primary goods measure of Rawls holds individuals responsible for their choices as to how to deploy these goods, whereas Cohen’s aim is to equalize access to advantage, and thereby the satisfaction of persons, however costly. It is argued that since Cohen concedes that practical matters of application might compromise egalitarian principle, the two thinkers might be, in practice, not that dissimilar.

Keywords:   justice, responsibility, equality, John Rawls, personal prerogatives, expensive tastes, choice, opportunity, basic institutions

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