Rawlsian Affirmative Action

Ethics 119 (3):476-506 (2009)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
My paper addresses a topic--the implications of Rawls's justice as fairness for affirmative action--that has received remarkably little attention from Rawls's major interpreters. The only extended treatments of it that are in print are over a quarter-century old, and they bear scarcely any relationship to Rawls's own nonideal theorizing. Following Christine Korsgaard's lead, I work through the implications of Rawls's nonideal theory and show what it entails for affirmative action: viz. that under nonideal conditions, aggressive forms of formal equality of opportunity (e.g., sensitivity training, outreach efforts, external monitoring and enforcement) and compensating support (e.g., special fellowship programs, childcare facilities, mentoring, co-op opportunities, etc.) can be justified, but that "hard" and even "soft" quotas are difficult to defend under any conditions. I conclude the paper by exploring the implications of these surprising results for contemporary liberalism more broadly and for constitutional law and public policy.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Upload history
Archival date: 2015-11-21
View other versions
Added to PP index

Total views
1,962 ( #2,157 of 69,074 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
89 ( #8,064 of 69,074 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.