Passive Equality

Todd May

in The Political Thought of Jacques Rancière

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780748635320
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671922 | DOI:
Passive Equality

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This chapter demonstrates that mainstream political philosophy is a philosophy of political passivity. It specifically argues that it is a philosophy of passive equality. It provides a preliminary definition of passive equality as the creation, preservation, or protection of equality by governmental institutions. Equality concerns what institutions are obliged to give people, rather than what those people themselves do politically. Iris Marion Young's own view and her positive proposals about passive equality are described. It also discusses the liberalism of John Rawls and the libertarianism of Robert Nozick. The method Rawls employs is the famous veil of ignorance. The greatest competitor to Rawls' view of justice is Nozick's, and especially his Anarchy, State, and Utopia. The equality to which Nozick refers is equality of end-states, not equality generally. Rights can be the result of a struggle for equality, or a struggle from the presupposition of equality.

Keywords: passive equality; political philosophy; Iris Marion Young; John Rawls; Robert Nozick; liberalism; libertarianism

Chapter.  16150 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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