<i>The Role of a Merit Principle in Distributive Justice</i>

Catherine Wilson

in Moral Animals

Published in print July 2004 | ISBN: 9780199267675
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191601859 | DOI:
The Role of a Merit Principle in Distributive Justice

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An objection to egalitarianism is that social dominance and variance in well‐being are not arbitrary and unjust insofar as they flow from differences in merit, understood as competence and performance at socially‐valued tasks, between persons and groups. More meritorious persons, on a view implied by F.A. Hayek and developed by David Gauthier, are entitled to have better lives. Chapter 7 seeks to weaken this objection to egalitarianism, by challenging the connection between perceived merit and desert. Statistical equality of outcomes amongst groups of persons with respect to enjoyment of all three tiers of well‐being, is defended as an appropriate test of the moral soundness of a set of social institutions.

Keywords: desert; egalitarianism; Gauthier; Hayek; merit; well‐being

Chapter.  16396 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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