Abandoning the abandonment objection: luck egalitarian arguments for public insurance

Knight, C. (2015) Abandoning the abandonment objection: luck egalitarian arguments for public insurance. Res Publica, 21(2), pp. 119-135. (doi: 10.1007/s11158-015-9273-2)

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Critics of luck egalitarianism have claimed that, far from providing a justification for the public insurance functions of a welfare state as its proponents claim, the view objectionably abandons those who are deemed responsible for their dire straits. This article considers seven arguments that can be made in response to this ‘abandonment objection’. Four of these arguments are found wanting, with a recurrent problem being their reliance on a dubious sufficientarian or quasi-sufficientarian commitment to provide a threshold of goods unconditionally. Three arguments succeed, showing that luck egalitarians have good reasons for assisting ‘negligent victims’ on account of changes that may occur in an individual between the time of their choice and their subsequent disadvantage, bad option luck, and doubts about free will and responsibility. Luck egalitarianism is therefore shown to offer strong support for public insurance.

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 > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Res Publica
Publisher:Springer Netherlands
ISSN (Online):1572-8692
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 Springer International Publishing
First Published:First published in Res Publica 21(2):119-135
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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