Equality, Sufficiency, and the State Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • ABSTRACTIn this article, I support the liberal claim that the state's fundamental responsibility is to ensure that persons are able to interact as equals, that is, on the basis of equal freedom. That persons must be treated as responsible agents leads to an obligation on the part of the state to ensure that its citizens have the necessary conditions (and resources) for responsible agency. I further suggest that this conception of equality and the requirement for responsible agency is the right measure to use for setting limits on the state's obligation to redistribute its resources. I defend this claim by making a parallel argument in moral philosophy that distinguishes the duty to aid from the duty of beneficence and establishes a priority relationship between them.

publication date

  • 2007