Chapter

Equality: Abilities and Marginal Utility

Thomas Hurka

in Perfectionism

Published in print June 1996 | ISBN: 9780195101164
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833276 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195101162.003.0012

Series: Oxford Ethics Series

Equality: Abilities and Marginal Utility

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Some versions of perfectionism, e.g., Plato's and Nietzsche's, are antiegalitarian, but this is often because of claims about desert or maximax aggregation, which the best perfectionism rejects. And this perfectionism can give at least qualified support to distributive equality by arguing that people's natural abilities are fairly close to equal and that there is diminishing marginal utility of resources, in that these are more important for enabling moderate perfection than for allowing improvements from there to the highest heights. Both these empirical claims are made more plausible by the Aristotelian values defended earlier in the book, especially those involving formal measures of theoretical and practical perfection.

Keywords: ability; antiegalitarian; desert; distribution; equality; marginal utility; maximax; Nietzsche; perfectionism

Chapter.  7397 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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