In addition to having an institutional site or scope, a theory of distributive justice might also have an institutional ‘reach’ or currency. It has the first when it applies to only social (and not natural) phenomena. It has the second when it distributes only socially produced (and not naturally occurring) goods. One objection to luck egalitarianism is that it has absurd implications. In response, Tan has defended a luck egalitarian account that has a strictly institutional reach. I argue, first, that Tan’s view contains two fatal ambiguities and, second, that, to be sound, it requires an institutional currency. This second argument implies that virtually all extant luck egalitarian currencies are incompatible with his approach. I argue, third, that the alleged absurd implications often have little to do with the extent of luck egalitarianism’s reach.
Thanks to the anonymous referees for this journal and another journal for their very helpful suggestions. Thanks, also, to Peter Vallentyne for valuable comments on an earlier version of this paper. I also owe thanks to Sam Bruton, Andrew I. Cohen, Andrew Courtwright, Adam Curaton, Richard Dean, Sarah Holtman, Bruce Landesman, Sean McKeever, Kok-Chor Tan, Brian Thomas and Jonathan Wolff for their feedback on an earlier paper that contained some of the themes of this paper. I am especially indebted to Jonathan Quong for detailed written comments on that earlier paper.
Abizedeh, A. (2007). ‘Cooperation, Pervasive Impact and Coercion: on the Scope (Not Site) of Distributive Justice’, Philosophy & Public Affairs 35: 318–358.10.1111/j.1088-4963.2007.00116.xSearch in Google Scholar
Altman, A. (2015) ‘Discrimination’, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL=https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2016/entries/discrimination/ (accessed on December 17, 2019).Search in Google Scholar
Hurley, S. (2003). Justice, Luck and Knowledge (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).Search in Google Scholar
Lippert-Rasmussen, K. (2018) ‘Justice and Bad Luck’, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2018 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL=https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2018/entries/justice-bad-luck/ (accessed on December 19, 2019).Search in Google Scholar
Murphy, L. (1999). ‘Institutions and the Demands of Justice’, Philosophy & Public Affairs 27: 252–291.Search in Google Scholar
O’Neill, O. (1975). ‘Lifeboat Earth’, Philosophy and Public Affairs 4: 273–292.Search in Google Scholar
Segal, S. (2010). Health, Luck and Justice (Princeton: Princeton University Press).Search in Google Scholar
Tan, K. (2011). ‘Luck, Institutions and Global Distributive Justice: A Defense of Global Luck Egalitarianism’, European Journal of Political Theory 10: 394–421.10.1177/1474885111406391Search in Google Scholar
Vallentyne, P. (2003). ‘Brute Luck Equality and Desert’, in S. Olsaretti (ed.). Desert and Justice (Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp. 169–186Search in Google Scholar
© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston