An African Egalitarianism: Bringing Community to Bear on Equality

In George Hull (ed.), The Equal Society: Essays on Equality in Theory and Practice. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 185-208 (2015)
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I consider what prima facie attractive communitarian ethical perspectives salient among indigenous African peoples entail for distributive justice within a state, and I argue that they support a form of economic egalitarianism that differs in several important ways from varieties common in contemporary Anglo-American political philosophy. In particular, the sort of economic egalitarianism I advance rivals not only luck-oriented variants from the likes of Ronald Dworkin, G. A. Cohen and theorists inspired by them such as Richard Arneson, Carl Knight and Nir Eyal, but also more ‘social’ kinds advocated by Elizabeth Anderson, Samuel Scheffler and Jonathan Wolff. Although I do not argue that these broadly Kantian egalitarianisms are less plausible than the Afro-communitarian version, I do aim to establish that it should be taken as seriously as they, at this stage of the debate.

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Thaddeus Metz
University of Pretoria


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