Freedom and Equality: Beyond Egalitarianism and Anti-Egalitarianism

Pauer-Studer, Herlinde (2002) Freedom and Equality: Beyond Egalitarianism and Anti-Egalitarianism. In: UNSPECIFIED Chronos, pp. 85-102.

[thumbnail of free_equ.pdf] PDF

Download (137kB)


Philosophy, as we know, is an abstract expression of worries, sentiments and longings that move people and societies. Philosophical debates are often innovative, but sometimes we have reason to ask ourselves why they develop at all and what general social trends they follow. An example of such a philosophical discussion-one that seems bewildering to many-is the current dispute between egalitarians and anti-egalitarians which has also reached German-speaking countries and which divides philosophers into opposing camps.

Given feminist arguments against egalitarianism that seem initially to have the potential to erode the social responsibilities of societies, the debate must seem especially strange to those feminist philosophers who have considered the European welfare state as a reasonable normative standard. The political shifts of the last decade, especially the change in former communist countries and the globalization of markets, provide the general social background for these challenges to egalitarian thinking.

Yet a look at these causal factors does not answer compelling questions such as, Are the normative demands of a strict egalitarianism really binding? Are these demands morally compelling? Are the arguments with which we justify people's acess to certain social and economic goods in fact egalitarian? Do we have to base an acceptable conception of society and its fundamental institutions on the ideal of equality at all?

In this talk I shall not address in detail the debate between egalitarians and anti-egalitarians. Instead I shall argue for an autonomy-based political theory that defines a specific structure among basic political values like universal respect, freedom, and equality. My claim is that such a theory integrates the value of equality in a form that allows us to leave behind the dispute between egalitarianism and anti-egalitarianism. Finally I shall try to show that an autonomy-oriented political theory is attractive from a feminist point of view.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: autonomy, political theory, feminism
Subjects: Philosophie > Philosophische Institutionen > Institut für Philosophie, Wien
Philosophie > Philosophische Disziplinen > Angewandte Ethik > Sozialethik, Rechtsethik, Wirtschaftsethik, Politische Ethik, Medien- und Informationsethik
Depositing User: sandra subito
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2020 12:51
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2020 12:51

Actions (login required)

View Item
View Item