Luck, Nature and Institutions

Moral Philosophy and Politics 8 (2):235-260 (2021)
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In addition to having an institutional site or scope, a theory of distributive justice might also have an institutional ‘reach’ or currency. It has the first when it applies to only social phenomena. It has the second when it distributes only socially produced goods. One objection to luck egalitarianism is that it has absurd implications. In response, Tan has defended a luck egalitarian account that has a strictly institutional reach. I argue, first, that Tan’s view contains two fatal ambiguities and, second, that, to be sound, it requires an institutional currency. This second argument implies that virtually all extant luck egalitarian currencies are incompatible with his approach. I argue, third, that the alleged absurd implications often have little to do with the extent of luck egalitarianism’s reach.

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Cynthia A. Stark
University of Utah


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