Egalitarianism Presentation -- January 20, 2009
1. Introduction to the course and the requirements
- course readings and discussions
- presentations – sign up sheet
- seminar papers: topics 4/7; first draft 4/28; final version 5/5
- weekly curmudgeons?
- a foundational value in ethics?
- a crucial value in modern political philosophy
- some words about the history of concerns about equality – are modern concerns parochial and misguided?
- How is equality related to other values such as rights, freedoms, solidarity, and welfare?
- compatible or competing?
- dependent on other values or supporting them or independent?
- overwhelming, significant, or relatively trivial weight?
- "factual" or "actual" equality. "All men are created equal"
- Is there any interpretation that is non-trivial and true?
- metaphysical vs. actual equality
- Is actual equality needed as a "basis" for normative equality claims?
- normative equality: "People ought to be treated equally"
- formal equality or universalizability
- equality before the law
- equality of respect
- common humanity
- Outcomes, resources, political influence or opportunities ought to be equal.
- What does equality require with respect to needed but scarce goods?
- What does equality involve with respect to "competitive goods" (i.e. goods that are widely desired, "earned", and scarce?
- As a political position
- What does it demand? Which differences among people are objectionable and which are acceptable?
- How can it be defended?
- What are the main objections to it?
- What would an egalitarian utopia look like?
- What would a feasible egalitarian utopia look like? How can principles of normative equality be implemented?
- As a distinctive position in political philosophy
- What claims about actual equalities does it make?
- What principles of normative equality does egalitarianism rely on?
- What priority principles weighting equality compared to other values are egalitarians committed to?
- Are all the concerns of egalitarians compatible?
- Is egalitarianism a single political philosophy or a family of related positions?