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Ethics, Politics and Society: Why Care About Equality?

Many people are suspicious of equality as a value. They believe that egalitarians, those who are committed to equality, unknowingly commit to the concept of leveling down -- the idea that, for example, it would be better to put out the eyes of the sighted in order to promote equality between the sighted and the blind. In this talk, Larry Temkin distinguishes between different kinds of equality and illuminates one particular version that he calls "equality as comparative fairness." Temkin defends this concept of equality against several rival positions, and also the leveling-down objection. He also presents several examples intended to show that, although equality is not all that matters, we cannot simply dispense with the ideal of equality if we want to do full justice to the moral beliefs that many of us hold dear.


Thu, Nov. 20, 2008
3 p.m. - 5 p.m.
(GMT-0500) America/Chicago


Rice University, Baker Hall