REAL opens up new perspectives in moral and political philosophy by closing the rift between analytical theories of rights and egalitarian theories of distributive justice. There is a perception in both the academic and public discourse that pursuing egalitarian economic policies is incompatible with a commitment to rights. Socialist thinkers have traditionally been sceptical of rights, and contemporary egalitarian theories are often silent about them. At the same time, theories that take rights seriously either neglect the distributive dimension or suggest that egalitarian redistribution may infringe on individual rights. Egalitarianism and rights thus appear to be inhospitable to each other. This project seeks first, to understand what explains this divide and second, to demonstrate that it can be bridged.
REAL is motivated by the thought that a theory of justice, including economic justice, would be more action-guiding if it could translate its recommendations into moral and subsequently legal rights. It thus aims to show that egalitarianism is not only compatible with a commitment to rights but that they are mutually supportive. The project has three main objectives:
- to refute the idea that the concept of rights rules out egalitarian commitments
- to uncover the reasons why egalitarianism is inhospitable to rights and show that they are inconclusive
- to propose a rights-friendly egalitarian theory of justice
The project will critically examine theories of rights and egalitarian theories of justice and adopts an analytical approach that blends arguments from political and legal philosophy, normative ethics and axiology in order to provide a novel and solid framework that integrates the two and advances current debates in these areas.
Call for proposal
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