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Equality and Priority

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 October 2005

MARTIN PETERSON
Affiliation:
Philosophy Unit, Royal Institute of Technology, Swedenmartinp@infra.kth.se, martin.peterson@ltu.se, soh@infra.kth.se
SVEN OVE HANSSON
Affiliation:
Philosophy Unit, Royal Institute of Technology, Swedenmartinp@infra.kth.se, martin.peterson@ltu.se, soh@infra.kth.se

Abstract

This article argues that, contrary to the received view, prioritarianism and egalitarianism are not jointly incompatible theories in normative ethics. By introducing a distinction between weighing and aggregating, the authors show that the seemingly conflicting intuitions underlying prioritarianism and egalitarianism are consistent. The upshot is a combined position, equality-prioritarianism, which takes both prioritarian and egalitarian considerations into account in a technically precise manner. On this view, the moral value of a distribution of well-being is a product of two factors: the sum of all individuals' priority-adjusted well-being, and a measure of the equality of the distribution in question. Some implications of equality-prioritarianism are considered.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© Cambridge University Press 2005

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