Arbitrariness of Social and Natural Differences: Luck, Lottery, and Equality
Title: Arbitrariness of Social and Natural Differences: Luck, Lottery, and Equality
Author: SADURSKI, Wojciech
Publisher: European University Institute
Series/Report no.: EUI LAW; 2007/12
It is sometimes argued that social and natural inequalities which are both arbitrary from a moral point of view should nevertheless have a different moral status in a theory of justice: while inequalities of a social type should be rightfully neutralized, the effects of natural inequalities should be respected, because they are a component of individual identity, in a way that social inequalities are not. This paper argues against such a distinction. It first clarifies the notion of “natural lottery”; it then draws a distinction between the notion of “self-ownership” and the extensions of one’s rights over one’s body. Subsequently, it argues that the appeal to competing conceptions of “the self” is not helpful in this context, because a “thick” conception of the self is a proxy for a particular normative conception of justice, rather than a metaphysical presupposition for theories of justice. The paper concludes by suggesting an interpretation of the metaphor of a “common pool of natural abilities” that would not be intrusive so as to effectively respect the separate identity of individuals.
Subject: Social justice; Equality
Type of Access: openAccess