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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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Social Justice and Public Equality

Social Justice and Public Equality

(p.46) 2 Social Justice and Public Equality
The Constitution of Equality

Thomas Christiano (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that social justice requires that equality be publicly realized. Social justice is realized in social and political institutions that attempt to establish justice. It requires that justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done. In the case of justice as equality, it must not only be the case that people are treated as equals; they must be able to see that they are treated as equals. Hence, social justice requires what is called public equality. It is argued that public equality is grounded on the principle of equality defended in the last chapter and the circumstances of disagreement, diversity, fallibility, and cognitive bias that attend efforts to implement justice in any moderately complex society as well as the fundamental interests of persons in society. This grounds the idea of the egalitarian standpoint from which the justification of political institutions proceeds. That is the first stage of the argument for grounding of democracy on equality.

Keywords:   cognitive bias, disagreement, diversity, egalitarian standpoint, establishment of justice, equality, fallibility, interests, publicity, social justice

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