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Title: Egalitarianism, perfectionism & support for the arts
Author: Gomersall, Christopher
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 9914
Awarding Body: University of Wolverhampton
Current Institution: University of Wolverhampton
Date of Award: 2016
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This dissertation is oriented around two moral ideals. The first is equality and the second perfection or excellence. In the chapter 2 I review some of the literature on the seemingly devastating ‘Levelling Down Objection’ to equality. I am in agreement with Larry Temkin that the Levelling Down Objection is true only if we believe that ‘person-affecting’ value, more specifically, welfare, is the only thing that matters in the moral universe. Hence, the Levelling down objeciton is premised on the truth of an undefended, highly contentious monism about value The purpose for introducing the Levelling Down Objection in chapter 1 is made clear in chapter 3, where I suggest a new problem for egalitarians. Equality is a comparative relation holding between people. Relations are not properties, and, since it is widely assumed that value supervenes exclusively on properties, we need to show how a relation could be of value. It is crucial to be able say how this could be the case. However, this issue has, to the best of my knowledge, not been addressed in the literature on equality. If we cannot answer this quesiton then the value of the equality relation must reduce to the value of its relata. I try to offer a framework which at least goes as far as demonstrating that this need not be true. Chapters 4 and 5 deal with the value of perfection. I offer a careful reading of the work of an important defender and an important critic of this ideal, the former being Immanuel Kant and the latter being Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The aim of these two chapters is twofold; firstly, I show that the value of perfection consists in the development and cultivation of our capacities for rationality. Secondly I show how perfectionism illuminates the importance of culture and the arts. In the final chapter I bring the insights of this dissertation together in order to address a practical question; whether there are egalitarian reasons to support the arts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Inquality ; perfection ; excellence ; art