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Intra-Family Inequality and Justice1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 September 2012

University of Copenhagen
University of Copenhagen


In “The Pecking Order,” Dalton Conley argues that inequalities between siblings are larger than inequalities at the level of the overall society. Our article discusses the normative implications for institutions of this observation. We show that the question of state intervention for curbing intra-family inequality reveals an internal tension within liberalism between autonomy and toleration, which bears on the forms that the intervention of institutions may take. Despite the pros and cons of both commitments, autonomy-based liberalism appears more compatible with the involvement of the state for egalitarian reasons within the family than toleration-based liberalism.

Dans « The Pecking Order », Dalton Conley soutient que les inégalités entre enfants d’une même famille sont plus importantes que les inégalités à l’échelle de la société. Nous étudions les implications normatives de cette observation au niveau institutionnel. La question de l’intervention étatique visant à restreindre l’inégalité intrafamiliale révèle une tension interne au libéralisme entre l’autonomie et la tolérance, qui influe sur la forme que l’intervention institutionnelle peut revêtir. En dépit des avantages et désavantages de chaque position, le libéralisme fondé sur l’autonomie semble plus compatible avec l’engagement de l’État au sein de la famille pour des raisons égalitariennes que le libéralisme fondé sur la tolérance.

Copyright © Canadian Philosophical Association 2012

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