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Scanlon on Social and Material Inequality

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image of Journal of Moral Philosophy

Tim Scanlon’s famous and important paper ‘The Diversity of Objections to Inequality’ sets out five reasons why those sympathetic to equality may object to inequality. This paper shows the origin of this approach to inequality in Scanlon’s earlier work, and its persistence in his later work. It also compares Scanlon’s position to earlier egalitarian writers, such as R.H. Tawney, and anti-egalitarians such as J.R. Lucas. It concludes by suggesting that there are interaction effects between the reasons for objecting to inequality and hence they are more powerful if taken together.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Philosophy, University College London Gower Street, London,WC1E 6BT, UK,


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