Stephen Matthews Stephen.Matthews at acu.edu.au
Mon Sep 15 14:31:31 AEST 2014

ACU Philosophy Seminar Series

Stewart Braun (ACU)
Luck Egalitarianism, Harshness, and the Purpose of Egalitarian Distributive Justice

According to luck egalitarianism, the purpose of egalitarian distributive justice is to ensure that people are not unequally burdened by factors that stand outside of their control.  But luck egalitarianism is vulnerable to the criticism that it treats the imprudent too harshly since it requires those individuals who have chosen poorly to suffer through the potentially catastrophic consequences of their choice. In response, luck egalitarians have developed two revised accounts—‘all luck egalitarianism (ALE) and moderate luck egalitarianism (MLE)—that attempt to show that despite the emphasis on responsibility, luck egalitarianism does not render an individual ineligible for assistance.  In this paper, I contend that although ALE and MLE may save luck egalitarianism from the traditional harshness objection, they fail to rescue luck egalitarianism from amodified version of the harshness objection, which I call the ‘egalitarian harshness objection’.  According to the egalitarian harshness objection, ALE and MLE are too unforgiving and treat people too harshly from an egalitarian perspective because neither can provide the assistance necessary to satisfy legitimate and widely shared egalitarian commitments.  Consequently there is strong reason to conclude that luck egalitarianism does not properly capture the whole purpose of egalitarian distributive justice, and that we should move in a more inclusive direction.

WHEN: Friday September 19th, 2.30 PM – 4.00 PM


Talk to be held in Brisbane, and beamed by videoconference in Sydney to:

North Sydney, MacKillop Level 16 TWH Building (8-20 Napier Street)

Strathfield, MSM VC Room (E2.45 Room)

In other states:

Melbourne, St Patrick's Lv 7 (ROOM 703),  250 Victoria Parade, East Melbourne

Canberra, Signadou 110  Ballarat Aquinas 503.

Enquiries: Steve Matthews (stephen.matthews at acu.edu.au)

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