Why Luck Egalitarianism Fails in Condemning Oppression

Feminist Philosophy Quarterly 6 (4) (2020)
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Luck egalitarianism has been criticized for condoning some cases of oppression and condemning others for the wrong reason—namely, that the victims were not responsible for their oppression. Oppression is unjust, however, the criticism says, regardless of whether victims are responsible for it, simply because it is contrary to the equal moral standing of persons. I argue that four luck egalitarian responses to this critique are inadequate. Two address only the first part of the objection and do so in a way that risks making luck egalitarianism inconsistent. A third severely dilutes the luck egalitarian doctrine. A fourth manages to denounce some instances of oppression for the right reason, but at the same time permits other instances of oppression and condemns yet others for the wrong reason.

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Cynthia A. Stark
University of Utah


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