Justice, equality and difference

Magnani, Noemi (2014) Justice, equality and difference. MPhil thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Abstract

A recently debated issue in political philosophy raises the question of how a system of justice could promote equality among citizens while respecting their particularity as individuals with different or even conflicting desires, values and conceptions of the good. Two lines of thought dominate the debate. On the one hand, liberal philosophers such as Brian Barry (1995, 2001) claim that justice is a matter of impartiality. A liberal policy requires that citizens' particularities be set aside and that everyone be judged according to the same principles of equality and impartiality. On the other hand, feminist philosophers such as Iris Marion Young (1990, 2000) and Clare Chambers (2008) argue that too often liberals underestimate the role played by social construction and group membership in determining the formation of our identities and desires. Recognising difference is therefore necessary for citizens to be treated equally and justly. The conceptions outlined above are all compelling in many respects although problematic in their own ways. This work tries to determine the extent to which a politics of difference might be preferable to a system of justice as impartiality, and why. Moreover, it addresses the issue of what should be done when a group-based policy runs counter to individual autonomy and well-being, as envisaged by Chambers. Finally an argument is made that Young's approach remains the best proposal towards the realisation of a more equitable society.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil)
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Social Sciences, History & Philosophy > Philosophy
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2014 09:31
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2014 09:41
URI: http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/id/eprint/94

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