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New Perspectives on Distributive Justice

Deep Disagreements, Pluralism, and the Problem of Consensus

Ed. by Knoll, Manuel / Snyder, Stephen / Şimsek, Nurdane

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November 2018
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Equality beyond Liberal Egalitarianism: Walzer’s Contribution to the Theory of Justice

Haus, Michael


This contribution develops a particular perspective on the value of equality and the claims of egalitarianism. It suggests an alternative to the egalitarian theories of John Rawls and other liberal egalitarians. The alternative presented would not give up the commitment to egalitarianism; renouncing the commitment to equality as a normative ideal would violate a deep consensus within modern political theory. It would also disrupt the consensus shared in liberal democratic societies that hierarchical ways of thinking are inappropriate and the normative demand that all human beings should be equally capable of leading an autonomous life. At the same time, the commitment to equality and egalitarianism should transcend the liberal egalitarians’ focus on compensating individuals for the relative disadvantages they have in comparison with other individuals. This is possible by interpreting the idea of equal autonomy in a different, more political way. To do this, Michael Walzer’s understanding of social justice is used to elaborate on the value of equality, demonstrating its usefulness by applying it to the field of educational justice. This application shows that a political understanding of egalitarianism, focussing on the abolition of domination may avoid certain shortcomings and paradoxes the liberal egalitarian discourse runs into.

Citation Information

Michael Haus (2018). Equality beyond Liberal Egalitarianism: Walzer’s Contribution to the Theory of Justice. In Manuel Knoll, Stephen Snyder, Nurdane Şimsek (Eds.), New Perspectives on Distributive Justice: Deep Disagreements, Pluralism, and the Problem of Consensus (pp. 71–90). Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110537369-005

Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110537369

Online ISBN: 9783110537369

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/BostonGet Permission

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