Justice for foxes

Knight, C. (2015) Justice for foxes. Law and Philosophy, 34(6), pp. 633-659. (doi: 10.1007/s10982-015-9237-x)

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Ronald Dworkin maintains that value is unitary, in the sense that different values do not conflict. This article resists this ‘hedgehog’ view with reference to the values of equality and utility. These appear to yield conflicting prescriptions in cases where one possible distribution gives different individuals the same amount of advantage, and the other contains an unequal distribution of a greater overall amount of advantage. Hedgehogs might respond to such a case in two ways. First, they might claim that equality and utility are not truly in conflict. However, this claim seems implausible on our ordinary concepts of these values, and Dworkin does not provide grounds for revising our concepts. Second, they might deny that one of these values—utility—is a genuine value. However, one of the two aspects of Dworkin’s fundamental principle of equal concern appears to be supportive of utility, and he offers no good arguments for his preferred strategy of accommodating this aspect of equal concern within the value of equality. Furthermore, the alternative ‘fox’ view, which recognizes equality and utility as conflicting values, each accommodating one aspect of equal concern, has the advantage that it stays truer to familiar moral concepts.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Knight, Dr Carl
Authors: Knight, C.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:Law and Philosophy
Publisher:Springer Netherlands
ISSN (Online):1573-0522
Published Online:10 September 2015
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 Springer Science+Business Media
First Published:First published in Law and Philosophy 34(6): 633-659
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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