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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 August 2002

Daniel Shapiro
Philosophy, West Virginia University


A central idea of contemporary philosophical egalitarianism's theory of justice is that involuntary inequalities or disadvantages—those that arise through no choice or fault of one's own—should be minimized or rectified in some way. Egalitarians believe that the preferred institutional vehicle for fulfilling these obligations of justice is some form of a welfare state. Of course, contemporary egalitarians disagree about the best way to interpret or understand their theory of justice and institutions: Which inequalities are chosen and which are unchosen? What form of a welfare state will best serve justice? However, no contemporary egalitarian denies that egalitarian justice requires a welfare state that will redistribute income and wealth to aid the involuntarily disadvantaged.

Research Article
© 2002 Social Philosophy and Policy Foundation

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