Res Publica

, 17:211 | Cite as

Need There be a Defence of Equality? Winner of the 2010 Postgraduate Essay Prize

  • Christopher Nathan
PG Essay Prize


There is an apparent problem in identifying a basis for equality. This problem vanishes if what I call the ‘intuited response’ is successful. According to this response, there is no further explanation of the significance of the feature in virtue of which an individual matters, beyond the bare fact that it is the feature in virtue of which an individual matters. I argue against this claim, and conclude that if the problem of identifying a basis for equality is to be resolved, it is necessary to defend a substantive account of the independent significance of some feature.


Equality Egalitarianism Justification Explanation Moral status 



I would like to thank audiences at Exeter, Princeton, and Toronto. For written comments, I am very grateful to John Broome, Rachel Bryant, Ian Carter, Jessica Flanigan, Keith Hyams, and the anonymous reviewer for this journal. For financial support, I thank the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and for providing a space in which to write this article, I would like to express my gratitude to the Centre for Ethics at the University of Toronto.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PoliticsUniversity of ExeterExeterEngland, UK

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