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Resource egalitarianism as a realisation of relational justice in the distributive sphere : an analysis of personal and interpersonal responsibility

In this thesis I examine the role of personal and interpersonal responsibility in relational egalitarianism and argue that Dworkin’s resource egalitarianism should be understood as a means by which to realise this aspect of justice, rather than as a competing and incompatible comprehensive theory. I hope to show that resource egalitarianism neutralises the effects of brute luck, not merely so as to put “cosmic injustices” to rights, but to ensure, insofar as possible, that individuals can relate to one another on equitable terms by taking responsibility for the effects of their actions. I focus especially on Elizabeth Anderson’s criticisms of responsibility-catering distributive theories and attempt to demonstrate how the interpersonal conception of justification she identifies as the central feature of relational egalitarian theories underlies Dworkin’s hypothetical insurance mechanism. I argue that the distinction Dworkin draws between brute and option luck depends on a highly contextual conception of what it is reasonable to expect of one another under various circumstances, informed by the capabilities one cannot reasonably be expected to give up or risk losing. I draw out the relational egalitarian motivation of Dworkin’s True-Cost Principle and argue that these true costs cannot be identified without an appreciation for the social construction of the ‘dominant cooperative scheme’ and a similar concern for the benefits to the community of individual choices. This sets the terms for our reconception of hypothetical insurance as a mechanism, not only for neutralising brute luck beyond the reach of voluntary insurance, but of correctly allocating the diffuse costs and benefits of agents’ choices and behaviours.
Date January 2015
CreatorsShanahan, G. D.
PublisherUniversity College London (University of London)
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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