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On the Currency of Egalitarian Justice, and Other Essays in Political Philosophy$
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G. A. Cohen and Michael Otsuka

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691148700

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691148700.001.0001

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Fairness and Legitimacy in Justice, And: Does Option Luck Ever Preserve Justice?

Fairness and Legitimacy in Justice, And: Does Option Luck Ever Preserve Justice?

Chapter:
(p.124) Chapter Six Fairness and Legitimacy in Justice, And: Does Option Luck Ever Preserve Justice?
Source:
On the Currency of Egalitarian Justice, and Other Essays in Political Philosophy
Author(s):

G. A. Cohen

, Michael Otsuka
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691148700.003.0007

This chapter defends the claim that what recommends an outcome that was achieved by just steps from a just starting point is not, in the general case, itself (unqualified) justice, but the different virtue of legitimacy, or, more precisely, the property that no one can legitimately complain about it. David Miller has claimed that luck egalitarianism is inconsistent with the principal distinction that Cohen tries to draw in the chapter, because luck egalitarianism says: distribute equally, compensating appropriately for luck-induced deficits, and then whatever arises from people's choices is just. However, this suggests that luck egalitarians should not call whatever arises “just,” but merely “legitimate” (in the technical sense of being something that no one can complain about).

Keywords:   justice, legitimacy, fairness, David Miller, luck egalitarianism, G. A. Cohen

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