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The Constitution of EqualityDemocratic Authority and Its Limits$
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Thomas Christiano

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780198297475

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198297475.001.0001

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The Basis of Equality

The Basis of Equality

(p.12) 1 The Basis of Equality
The Constitution of Equality

Thomas Christiano (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter sketches a foundational defense of the principle of equality of advancement of interests. The argument proceeds by showing that justice is grounded in the dignity of persons. The dignity of persons, properly understood, grounds some main principles at the root of justice and these main principles ground the principle of equality in the distribution of well-being. It undermines one main (perhaps the main) objection to the principle of equality: the leveling down objection. Once we see how the principle of equality is grounded we will see that it is a common good principle: it does not permit leveling down for the sake of feasible equality. Principles of desert and productivity are shown to be legitimate at most within a framework of equality and severely limited by it.

Keywords:   desert, dignity, feasibility, interests, justice, leveling-down, persons, well-being

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