Egalitarian Justice and Innocent Choice
by Nir Eyal
In its standard formulation, luck-egalitarianism is false. Disadvantages that result from free choice to take a risk can constitute egalitarian injustice—so long as that free choice is morally praiseworthy or at least neutral. A modified formulation of luck-egalitarianism avoids these problems. The formulation offered here focuses on the notion of innocence: lack of free and morally wrong choice to take a risk. Innocent disadvantage negates justice in both punitive and distributive contexts, suggesting that it may negate justice “itself.” The modified formulation of luck-egalitarianism may thus shed light on distributive justice and perhaps on the essence of justice itself; applying it to the punitive context can also illuminate some of the discussion of moral luck.
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