Philosophy Seminar: Daniel Elstein (Leeds)

Daniel Elstein (Leeds) 'Justice Without Compensation'

Abstract: It is commonplace for egalitarian thinking about distributive justice to focus on the idea of compensating people for disadvantage. Different strains of egalitarianism differ on what kinds of disadvantage are apt for compensation: e.g. luck egalitarians claim the relevant disadvantages are those resulting from bad brute luck. But, I argue, this whole dispute proceeds on an incorrect assumption: that redistribution should always be from the advantaged to the disadvantaged (whatever kind of disadvantage is relevant). In fact there are central cases of the application of distributive justice where just redistribution does not depend on the recipients being disadvantaged: the people who egalitarians should be directing aid towards may be relevantly advantaged, or at least not disadvantaged, and they may even be relevantly lucky. I will attempt to show that this way of construing egalitarianism fits best with our pre-theoretical practices and judgements, as well as our best justifications for egalitarianism itself, by focusing on three key sites of distributive justice: pensions, disability and education.

Location details

Baines Wing (G. 36)