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Reading: Left-Libertarianism and Rawlsian Equality: A Good Match?


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Left-Libertarianism and Rawlsian Equality: A Good Match?


Nikolas F. Mattheis

About Nikolas F.
Many thanks to the participants of the `5th LSE-Bayreuth Student Philosophy Conference' at the London School of Economics where an earlier version of this paper was presented. Especially, I would like to thank Mike Otsuka for his thoughtful commentary on my paper. Also, I am grateful to Matthias Brinkman, Roberto Fumagalli, Simon Krmer, Leon Schlter, and Paul Welzel for offering helpful comments and criticism.
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Doubts have been raised whether left-libertarianism can coherently reconcile its two core commitments, self-ownership and equality. Jonathan Quong argues that left-libertarians fail to do so because they specify their commitment to equality in terms of luck-egalitarianism. He maintains that focussing on equality in cooperation 'Rawlsian equality' might save left-libertarianism's coherence. Although Quong's shift of focus is promising, this paper suggests that it still fails to fully reconcile equality and self-ownership for two reasons. First, left-libertarianism based on Rawlsian equality doesn't appropriately account for persons unattractive to cooperate with. Second, self-ownership demands that persons are able to set the terms of their cooperation themselves, a requirement which conflicts with Rawlsian equality.

How to Cite: Mattheis, N.F., 2017. Left-Libertarianism and Rawlsian Equality: A Good Match?. Rerum Causae, 9(2), pp.49–70.
Published on 01 Jul 2017.
Peer Reviewed


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