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IPFS News Link • Philosophy: Political

What's Fair Isn't Always Equal

• by Filip Steffensen

Throughout the past decade, hostility against growing economic inequality has gained ground. An increasing consensus seems to be gravitating towards the seductive demand for "fairness," even by right-leaning politicians. When applied by progressives, the term refers to equal outcomes.

But how can we define fairness? American philosopher Robert Nozick might be useful here because the only way to achieve fairness without violating individuals' rights is by securing procedural justice, not end-state justice.

Inequality and the Veil of Ignorance

Philosopher John Rawls was a great contributor to the present debate. In A Theory of Justice, Rawls derives his principles of justice from the contract tradition. Rawls believed that fairness cannot validly be deduced from intuition, and so he committed himself to develop a comprehensive theory.