Equality, resources and primary goods : Ronald Dworkin and John Rawl on the currency of egalitarianism

May, Simon James Peter (1996) Equality, resources and primary goods : Ronald Dworkin and John Rawl on the currency of egalitarianism. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

In this thesis I compare the work of Ronald Dworkin and John Rawls within the context of the 'equality of what?' debate. I argue that the Rawlsian paradigm offers a much more flexible defence of a resourcist approach to egalitarianism than Dworkin's theoI)' of' equality of resources'. I argue that Dworkin's fundamental distinction between persons and circumstances is flawed because it involves commitment to a view of the person which belongs in the realm of' comprehensive moral doctrines', rather than in the realm of a political theory of justice. I also argue that an alternative distinction between choice and luck, expressed in the 'luck-neutralising aim' of egalitarianism, is inappropriate since it too involves transgressing political constraints on theories of justice. Rawls's utilisation of primary goods in his theory of justice is supported by considerations derived from the work of Thomas Scanlon. The schematic picture of relative urgency which Scanlon advances provides the rationale for the use of primary goods, and also allows us to discriminate . between compensation for handicaps and compensation for expensive tastes. Scanlon's schematic picture also frees the utilisation of primary goods from criticisms raised by Amartya Sen. Lastly, I discuss arguments advanced by Susan Hurley which enable an interpretation of Rawls's original position device which is independent of the luck-neutralising aim. Her arguments are extended as a criticism of Dworkin's hypothetical insurance market.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin, Amartya Sen, Equality, Justice, Law, Philosophy, Jurisprudence
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Philosophy
Supervisors:McDonald, Ian and De Wijze, Steve
ID Code:3784
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:23 Oct 2012 13:49
Last Modified:23 Oct 2012 13:49
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