Value neutrality and the ranking of opportunity sets

Economics and Philosophy 32 (1):99-119 (2016)
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I defend the idea that a liberal commitment to value neutrality is best honoured by maintaining a pure cardinality component in our rankings of opportunity or liberty sets. I consider two challenges to this idea. The first holds that cardinality rankings are unnecessary for neutrality, because what is valuable about a set of liberties from a liberal point of view is not its size but rather its variety. The second holds that pure cardinality metrics are insufficient for neutrality, because liberties cannot be individuated into countable entities without presupposing some relevantly partisan evaluative perspective. I argue that a clear understanding of the liberal basis for valuing liberty shows the way to satisfying responses to both challenges.
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An Essay on Rights.Steiner, Hillel

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