Harsh and Disrespectful: Rescuing Moral Agency from Luck and Choice

David Axelsen, Lasse Nielsen

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    Many policies hinge on determining whether someone's situation is due to luck or choice. In political philosophy, this prevalence is mirrored by luck egalitarian theories. But overemphasizing the distinction between luck and choice will lead to tensions with the value of moral agency, on which the distinction is grounded. Here, we argue that the two most common contemporary critiques of luck egalitarianism, holding it to be harsh and disrespectful are best understood as illustrating this tension. Elaborating on this conflict, we argue that it should lead us to modify how luck and choice are used in theories of justice.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalSocial Theory and Practice
    Issue number4
    Pages (from-to)657-679
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


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