Choice-Sensitive Egalitarianism: A Conceptual Analysis (pdf)

Abstract:  A popular view among egalitarians is that the justice of a distribution depends on the choices people make. This paper argues that any determinate choice-sensitive egalitarian principle must be specified along two egalitarian and two choice-sensitive dimensions. Specifically, a fully-specified principle requires answering four questions about egalitarianism and choice-sensitivity: Equality or priority? Equality of what? Where to draw the line between choice and circumstance? And, to what consequences of choices must distributions be sensitive? Alternative accounts of choice-sensitive egalitarianism — including resource egalitarian, luck egalitarian, luck prioritarian, capabilitarian and certain left-libertarian principles — are shown to emerge by answering these questions in different ways.