Justice, Responsibility, and the Demands of Equality

T. M. Scanlon

in The Egalitarian Conscience

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780199281688
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603747 | DOI:
Justice, Responsibility, and the Demands of Equality

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This essay considers the disagreement between Cohen and Rawls on the question of whether individuals should be held responsible for their tastes and preferences. It notes the difference in principle, since the primary goods measure of Rawls holds individuals responsible for their choices as to how to deploy these goods, whereas Cohen’s aim is to equalize access to advantage, and thereby the satisfaction of persons, however costly. It is argued that since Cohen concedes that practical matters of application might compromise egalitarian principle, the two thinkers might be, in practice, not that dissimilar.

Keywords: justice; responsibility; equality; John Rawls; personal prerogatives; expensive tastes; choice; opportunity; basic institutions

Chapter.  8631 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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