Skip to main content

Equality of whom? a genetic perspective on equality (of opportunity)


Rawls’ principle of fair equality of opportunity has been regularly discussed and criticized for being inadequate regarding natural inequalities. In so far as this egalitarian goal is sound, the purpose of the paper is to see how the prospect of radical genetic intervention might affect this particular inadequacy. I propose that, in a post-genetic setting, an appropriate response would be to extend the same rules regulating societal inequalities to a regulation of comparable genetic inequalities. I defend this stance against recent arguments from the authors of From Chance to Choice and from Colin Farrelly’s alternative of the genetic difference principle.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Oliver Feeney.

Additional information

Thanks and appreciation to Dr. Pete Morris, Noreen McGuire and Ann Feeney for their support and encouragement. My thanks also to the participants of the Ninth Manchester Graduate (Brave New World 2005) Conference in Political Theory, where a shorter version of this paper was read.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Feeney, O. Equality of whom? a genetic perspective on equality (of opportunity). Res Publica 12, 357–383 (2006).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • extended equalisation principle
  • fair equality of opportunity
  • genetic difference principle
  • genetic interventions
  • natural inequalities
  • normal functioning