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Title: Social egalitarianism, responsibility and luck
Author: Skarveli, Sotira
ISNI:       0000 0004 6350 8805
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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My thesis engages with the question about what it means to treat each other as equals, as this has been approached by luck and social egalitarians. Luck egalitarians maintain that luck inequalities should be equalized, while inequalities that are due to people’s choices should be left as they stand. This further implies that the scope of egalitarian justice is universal. Social egalitarians criticize luck egalitarianism for failing to provide a proper understanding of the value of equality. Equality is a relational ideal regarding how people should relate to each other as social and political equals, which properly understood requires that they relate to each other in a nondominating way. Given this, they argue, first, that luck egalitarian principles of justice violate the requirements of non-domination, since responsibility may conflict with the latter; and secondly, that strongly egalitarian duties are generated in virtue of morally significant forms of existing relationships, thus the scope of egalitarian justice is not universal. In my dissertation, I argue that Dworkin—who has traditionally been considered to be a luck egalitarian—shares the two social egalitarian commitments, namely that equality is a relational value and that strong egalitarian duties are generated in virtue of morally significant forms of existing relationships. Given this I defend two theses, both of which constitute an original contribution to our better understanding of the demands of social and political equality: a) Dworkin’s theory of equality properly understood is not only attentive to the social egalitarian requirement of non-domination, but it provides a better understanding of it precisely because it builds upon a conception of personal and consequential responsibility that is constitutive of non-domination. b) I challenge both Dworkin’s and social egalitarians’ view of the scope of egalitarian justice by arguing that properly understood the ideal of social and political equality tells us that we should relate to each other as equals, not that existing relationships are necessary for justice-based duties to be triggered.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Greek State Scholarships Foundation (IKY)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: JC Political theory