Equality, Priority, and Time

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The lifetime equality view (the view that it is good if people’s lives on the whole are equally worth living) has recently been met with the objection that it does not rule out simultaneous inequality: two persons may lead equally good lives on the whole and yet there may at any time be great differences in their level of well-being. And simultaneous inequality, it is held, ought to be a concern of egalitarians. The paper discusses this and related objections to the lifetime equality view. It is argued that rather than leading to a revision of the lifetime equality view, these objections, if taken seriously, should make us account for our egalitarian concerns in terms of the priority view rather than the equality view. The priority view claims that there is a greater moral value to benefiting the worse off. Several versions of the priority view are also distinguished.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)203-225
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1997

ID: 200777251