Equality and Liberty: Beyond a Boundary

Must those who value liberty accept that its consequences include economic inequality?  In the tradition associated with John Locke, of which a modern representative was Robert Nozick, the answer is yes.

Akeel Bilgrami, Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, argues no, because in his view liberty properly understood and exercised, can be made consistent with equality (and prosperity).  The key, he argues, is the role of a ‘non-alienated life’ in bringing about the required reconciliation.  In his view, such an approach eliminates the collective action problem of game theory, an operation that plays a crucial role in overcoming the tension.  Bilgrami develops these challenging ideas in a paper for a project on Nature and Value supported by the Nomis Foundation (the papers from which are planned to be published in 2018 by Columbia University Press). His paper (p.107) and my response to it (p.123) along with other papers from this innovative project addressing fundamental questions, can be downloaded here.

 

 

 

 

 


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