Luck and democracy : the role of the luck-choice principle in democratic egalitarianism
Chalson, Shalom Shaleni
Date of Issue2017
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Egalitarianism is the view that inequalities in society should be minimised. The motivation for pursuing an equal distribution is captured by a grounding principle, while the terms and conditions of such a distribution are captured by a substantive principle. According to Democratic Egalitarianism (DE), persons in society should have effective access to necessary functionings, or beings and doings, required over the course of a life. The grounding principle of this view is Democratic Reciprocity (DR), the notion that persons must raise one another to positions of equality, because each is deserving of equal concern. What this view lacks is a substantive principle which adequately specifies which inequalities fall under the purview of justice. DE’s substantive requirement is that persons be politically responsible, or contributions to the joint division of labour that is society. The view, as it stands, does not conceive of that responsibility as inclusive of a cut between luck and choice. I argue that failing to consider how the unchosen circumstances of one’s life may impact one’s capacity for contribution would generate, rather than minimise, inequalities. Accordingly, I attempt to make the case for an inclusion of the luck-choice principle in DE’s conception of political responsibility.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University