This book offers a new and compelling account of distributive justice and its relation to choice. Unlike luck egalitarians, who treat unchosen differences in people's circumstances as sources of unjust inequality to be overcome, Sher views such differences as pervasive and unavoidable features of the human situation. Appealing to an original account of what makes us moral equals, he argues that our interest in successfully negotiating life's ever-shifting contingencies is more basic than our interest in achieving any more specific goals. He argues, also, that the state's obligation to promote this interest supports a principled version of the view that what matters about resources, opportunity, and other secondary goods is only that each person have enough. The book opens up a variety of new questions, and offers a distinctive new perspective for scholars of political theory and political philosophy, and for those interested in distributive justice and luck egalitarianism.
George Sher is Herbert S. Autrey Professor of Philosophy at Rice University. His publications include Desert (1987), Beyond Neutrality: Perfectionism and Politics (Cambridge, 1997) and Who Knew? Responsibility Without Awareness (2009).
1. Reconciling equality and choice; 2. Luck as the absence of control; 3. Equality, responsibility, desert; 4. The monistic turn; 5. Why we are moral equals; 6. Completing the turn; 7. Coping with contingency; 8. Enough is enough; 9. From sufficiency to equality.