Justice Through Equality: Distributive Principles & Disabled People

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Previous conceptions of justice have either devalued disability as a social circumstance to a point of apathy towards people with disabilities, or have consciously noted how individuals with disabilities do not fit within the theoretical and legal framework adopted in the construction of social justice and equality. Mark Stein argues that utilitarian principles of justice are the sole means to ensure distributive justice for people with disabilities. He argues that the promotion of the equality of resources ensures too little of a redistribution to people with disabilities while the equality of welfare drastically alters the allocation of goods to such an extent that other deserving individuals receive too little. This paper however, proceeds on the grounds that egalitarian principles of justice are not flawed in the manner outlined by Stein, and argues instead, that such principles are by design, the only manner in which disabled people can be appropriately integrated into theories of distributive justice. The argument endorsed in this paper proceeds by critically examining the nature of disability and by proposing that would-be utilitarians have a fundamentally flawed one-dimensional conception of disability that fatally limits the applicability of their theory.


Keywords: Egalitarianism, Equality, Utilitarianism, Disability, Justice
Stream: Politics, Public Policy and Law
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Christopher A Riddle

PhD Candidate, Department of Philosophy, Queen's University
Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Christopher Riddle is currently pursuing his doctoral degree at Queen's University at Kingston. His work focuses on the inability of existing conceptions of egalitarian principles of justice to adequately address people with disabilities. Working at the intersection of ethics, law, and political philosophy, he has spoken & published on issues pertaining to distributive justice, social policy, and human rights legislation.

Ref: I08P0429