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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 December 2021

Counteracting Circumstances

Counteracting Circumstances

(p.89) CHAPTER 4 Counteracting Circumstances
Levelling the Playing Field

Andrew Mason (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the neutralization approach and raises a difficulty inherent in it. In particular, it argued that the aim of neutralizing the effects of differences in people's circumstances runs counter to some widely held moral intuitions. For if we suppose that justice or equality of opportunity requires the neutralization of these effects, then it would seem that each of us has a reason to refrain from behaving in any way that would advantage our children relative to others. Yet that, in turn, would entail that we have a reason (even if that reason is inconclusive) not to pass on our skills and experience to our children, or even spend ‘quality time’ with them, when we know that doing so would advantage them. This is strongly counter-intuitive. In place of the neutralization approach, justice requires us to mitigate the effects of differences in people's circumstances.

Keywords:   neutralization approach, circumstances, equality, opportunity, mitigation approach

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