When justice demands inequality

John James Thrasher, Keith Hankins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In Rescuing Justice and Equality G.A. Cohen argues that justice requires an uncompromising commitment to equality. Cohen also argues, however, that justice must be sensitive to other values, including a robust commitment to individual freedom and to the welfare of the community. We ask whether a commitment to these other values means that, despite Cohen s commitment to equality, his view requires that we make room for inequality in the name of justice. We argue that even on Cohen s version of egalitarianism equality, freedom, and welfare are not always compatible. Justice will require trade-offs between these values. Sometimes, equality will need to be sacrificed. This is a surprising result and to show it, we use two informal impossibility proofs drawn from examples in Rescuing Justice and Equality. (c) 2015 koninklijke brill nv, leiden.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172 - 194
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Moral Philosophy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

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