Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 139–149 | Cite as

Equality of Opportunity and Other-Affecting Choice: Why Luck Egalitarianism Does Not Require Brute Luck Equality



The luck egalitarian view famously maintains that inequalities in individuals’ circumstances are unfair or unjust, whereas inequalities traceable to individuals’ own responsible choices are fair or just. On this basis, the distinction between so-called brute luck and option luck has been seen as central to luck egalitarianism. Luck egalitarianism is interpreted, by advocates and opponents alike, as a view that condemns inequalities in brute luck but permits inequalities in option luck. It is also thought to be expressed in terms of the view that no individual ought to be worse off other than because of a fault or choice of his or her own. I argue that these two characterizations of luck egalitarianism are not equivalent and that, properly understood, luck egalitarianism is compatible with widespread, potentially radical, inequalities in brute luck.


Equality Egalitarianism Choice Brute luck Equal opportunity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.New CollegeUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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