Equality and Liberty: A Defense of Radical Egalitarianism

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Rowman & Littlefield, 1984 - Political Science - 320 pages
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Probably no issue is more confounding in the social policy arena or more closely argued among political philosophers than the question of the relationship between equality and liberty: are they compatible in a just society? In a systematic discussion that expands our understanding of what constitutes liberty, equality, and, especially, justice, Professor Nielsen puts forth a vigorous defense of an uncompromising egalitarianism based on a commitment to the belief that the interests of everyone matter, and matter equally. Marshalling the most persistent arguments against egalitarianism, the author presents accounts of Nietzschean elitism, meritocracy, and conservative libertarianism, as well as various shades of egalitarianism, and systematically responds to each opposing view. Followers of contemporary debates will especially welcome Nielsen's searching critiques of the liberal egalitarianism of John Rawls and Ronald Dworkin, and of the conservative libertarianism of Milton Friedman, Frederich Hayek, and particularly Robert Nozick.
 

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Contents

Egalitarian Justice Equality as a Goal and Equality as a Right
3
Methodological Interlude Egalitarianism and the Appeal to Considered Judgments
13
In Defense of Egalitarianism
43
INTERLUDE AND PROEM ONE
45
Radical Egalitarian Justice Justice as Equality
46
Impediments to Radical Egalitarianism
62
Class and Justice
78
Desert Merit and Meritocracy
101
Libertarianism Individual Rights and the Rejection of Egalitarianism
189
INTERLUDE AND PROEM THREE
191
Nozick and Individual Rights
192
Nozick and Socialism Some Sociological Critiques
218
Nozick and Socialism Some Conceptual Critiques
239
Nozick and the Critique of Egalitarianism
265
On Liberty Requiring Equality A Final Word for Egalitarianism
279
INTERLUDE AND PROEM FOUR
281

INTERLUDE AND PROEM TWO
103
Justice and Desert
104
The Old Egalitarianism and the Primacy of Equality of Opportunity
132
On the Logic of Meritocracy
148
A Rationale for Radical Egalitarianism
283
Index
315
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