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Levelling the Playing FieldThe Idea of Equal Opportunity and its Place in Egalitarian Thought$
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Andrew Mason

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199264414

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199264414.001.0001

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The Simple View

The Simple View

(p.15) CHAPTER 1 The Simple View
Levelling the Playing Field

Andrew Mason (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with an examination of the simple view that equality of opportunity requires open competition for advantaged social positions. It is argued that this idea is not really so simple. The notion of an open competition and the idea of a qualification which it presupposes are more complicated than they seem, and need to be looked at in a broad account of justice in general, or equality of opportunity in particular. The simple view must be regarded as incomplete: it is implausible to suppose, for example, that open competition for advantaged social positions is a sufficient condition of equality of opportunity. Reflection upon the simple view suggests that any adequate account of equality of opportunity must include at least two components: the idea that there should be open competition for advantaged social positions, and that there should be fair access to the qualifications required for success in these competitions.

Keywords:   open competition, qualifications, simple view, equality of opportunity, social positions

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