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Justice and Equality (PO909)

The ideal of equality has been elaborated and defended by the world’s leading political philosophers over the past four decades. This module examines some of the most prominent accounts of equality, whether it ought to figure in our practical deliberations, and, if so, how. It is designed to develop your skills in the identification, interpretation and evaluation of relevant texts in contemporary political philosophy.

In the first half of the module you will study some of the leading proponents of egalitarian justice in recent political philosophy—John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin, G. A. Cohen, Elizabeth Anderson—to gain an understanding of the key questions concerning the nature, importance and site of egalitarian justice. The second half of the module will cover selected debates concerning the implications of egalitarian justice for public policy, such as the following: Should egalitarians reject all market distributions? What is the relationship between equality, principles of non-discrimination and affirmative action? Should a policy of universal basic income be adopted? Do egalitarian principles apply globally or only within political communities? What does justice demand with respect to the distribution of education?