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John RawlsDebating the Major Questions$
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Jon Mandle and Sarah Roberts-Cady

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190859213

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190859213.001.0001

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Rawls and Luck Egalitarianism

Rawls and Luck Egalitarianism

Chapter:
(p.133) 7 Rawls and Luck Egalitarianism
Source:
John Rawls
Author(s):

Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190859213.003.0012

In A Theory of Justice, Rawls famously noted that many (dis)advantages reflect the outcomes of the social and the natural lottery. In these remarks, inter alia, some have seen the early appearance in Rawls’s work of what was later developed into a full-blown luck egalitarian theory of justice. Luck egalitarianism says that it is unjust if some are worse off than others through no choice or fault of their own. This principle differs from Rawls’s theory of justice. This had led some political philosophers to criticize Rawls for not thinking through the implications of his luck egalitarian commitments. This chapter (1) presents conflicting interpretations of the role considerations about luck play in Rawls; (2) assesses the exegetical support on offer for these interpretations; and, finally, (3) discusses what role considerations about luck should play in a theory of justice in the light of recent relational egalitarian theories.

Keywords:   difference principle, distributive justice, equality, luck egalitarianism, moral luck, John Rawls, relational egalitarianism

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