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Jeff Spinner-Halev on Individual Responsibility and Distributive Justice

February 25 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

“Individual Responsibility and Distributive Justice”
Jeff Spinner-Halev is the Kenan Eminent Professor of Political Ethics in the Political Science Department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of The Boundaries of Citizenship:  Race, Ethnicity and Nationality in the Liberal State (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994);  Surviving Diversity: Religion and Democratic Citizenship (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000); and   Enduring Injustice (Cambridge University Press, 2012).
ABSTRACT: The specter of individual responsibility haunts many contemporary liberal arguments about distributive justice. It is ever present in these arguments, with examples and hypotheticals of individual responsibility plentiful, but the meaning of responsibility remains ever elusive. I argue here that the ideas of individual choice and responsibility should not be at the center of a theory of distributive justice. Nearly every responsibility argument in the distributive justice literature assumes a regulated and limited market economy as a central feature of society (presumably because such a system is productive and is associated with individual liberty), yet their arguments assume away key features of a market economy and misunderstand the kind of behavior that liberal societies with market economies should promote.


February 25
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Caldwell 105
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, 27599
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