When Equality Matters

The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Public Policy, Forthcoming

16 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2018

Date Written: March 28, 2018


Equality is at the heart of liberal, democratic political theory. Despite this, there is considerable disagreement about how we should understand equality in the context of liberal politics. Several different conceptions of equality (e.g., equality of opportunity, equality of welfare outcomes, and equality of basic rights) will recommend different and often conflicting policies and institutions. Further, we can expect, in democratic societies, that citizens will disagree on the correct conception of equality. This leads to the diversity problem of equality — there is no one conception of equality that will be acceptable to all citizens. This is compounded by the complexity problem of generating determinate and predictable results in the institutional application of any particular conception of equality. After identifying these problems and looking at G.A. Cohen’s defense of a thoroughly egalitarian conception of politics, I argue in favor of “democratic equality” as a political ideal.

Keywords: Equality, Egalitarianism, G.A. Cohen, John Rawls

Suggested Citation

Thrasher, John, When Equality Matters (March 28, 2018). The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Public Policy, Forthcoming , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3247197

John Thrasher (Contact Author)

Chapman University ( email )

1 University Drive
Orange, CA 92866
United States
7146287343 (Phone)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics