What are the rationalizations against equality and arguments William presents to dispute them in The Idea of Equality



. What are the rationalizations against equality and arguments William presents to dispute them in The Idea of Equality-how do each theorist answer the following questions?  (up to 25 pts.)

  Sidney Verba Jean Jacques Rousseau (Discourse) Jean Jacques Rousseau (Social Contract) Ian Carter Kenneth Boulding
Why should people be treated equally?  











  According to Rousseau, men are made by nature to be equals hence no one has the right to rule over others and therefore the only acceptable authority is one made through agreements and covenants.    
What does equality look like?  











  Free persons coming together and agreeing to create themselves into a new single body that is directed to the good of all.    
What is the Nature of Man/Law of Nature?  












The state of nature was peaceful and unrealistic. The people lived solitary and complicated lives and their few needs were fully satisfied by nature. Originally man was born free and is now everywhere in chains. This means that man was originally free but the process of civilization has replaced compliance to others for that freedom.    
What makes equality so difficult to achieve?  












Development of private property which led to formation of a government by those who owned private property to protect them from those who did not have any. This government’s purpose to the people was to promote equality but was eventually dominated by those who became stronger and richer by developments of private property. The civil society subdues the natural legacy of man to natural freedom.    
Is inequality ever okay?  












No, he calls this type of inequality unjustifiable, unacceptable and must be contested. No,    


  1. Bernard Williams: What are the rationalizations against equality and arguments William presents to dispute them in The Idea of Equality? (up to 15 pts.)

Williams aims to show how we can arrive at tough conceptions of factual and normative equality that can help ground political equality by building up notions of equality in an attempt to avoid obvious falsehoods and absurdities through equality of respect (ER) and equality of opportunity (EO).

Firstly, the claim that all men are equal and should therefore be treated as equals. According to the descriptive claim, William argues that the principle that men should be treated differently in respect of welfare in grounds of color is a pure arbitrary assertion of will.

Secondly, the claims of equality in unequal circumstances like inequality of need, merit and equality of opportunity. In inequality of need, Williams argues that it is a matter of logic that particular sorts of needs constitute a reason for receiving particular goods

In inequality of merit, Williams argues that in the case of good for which there is competition and merit seems like a relevant consideration, it is still true that what constitutes the relevant sort of merit in such cases must be determined by the nature of the good to be distributed.  And lastly in equality of Opportunity, he argues that some goods are desired by large numbers of people across all sections of society, are the kinds of goods which people may be said to earn or achieve, and are such that not all the people who desire them can have them. In such cases, the kind of equality we might aim to secure is equality of opportunity: the good can be allocated on grounds that do not a priori exclude anyone who desires it.

  1. Jean Jacques Rousseau: Define these concepts found in the Social Contract (up to 15 pts.)
  2. Explain how theorists laid the foundation for Rousseau’s Social Contract (Who were they what did they contribute)

The two main theorists who laid a foundation for rousseau’s social contract were Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. They both discussed about the state of human nature  and Rousseau was  influenced by the modern natural law tradition, which attempted to answer the challenge of skepticism through a systematic approach to human nature that like Hobbes, emphasized self-interest.

  1. What is “Social Contract”?

Social contract is the voluntary agreement among individuals and according to various theories by Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau, it brings an organized society into life and devote it with the right to secure mutual protection and welfare or to regulate the relations among its members. It helps explain the relationship between individuals and the society.What are the rationalizations against equality and arguments William presents to dispute them in The Idea of Equality


  1. What do Social Theory theorists have in common?

They all have an interest in human nature and the relationship between individuals and the society.

  1. Ian Carter: Define these concepts found in Respect and the Basis of Equality (up to 15 pts.)
  2. What is the Kantian viewpoint?

Kantian viewpoint is where respect is owed to each person simply in virtue of her being a rational moral agent.

  1. What is “Equalitarian Justice?”

It is where by individuals are treated equally even when pursuing justice, giving same amounts of punishment to criminals.

  1. Kenneth Boulding: Define the following terms found in The Pursuit of Equality (up to 15 pts.)


This is where race relations might become obsolete and whereby man will instead focus on the understanding of another man

Grants economy

non-repayable funds or products disbursed or gifted by one party (grantmakers), often a government department, corporation, foundation or trust, to a recipient, often (but not always) a nonprofit entity, educational institution, business or an individual

Legitimate stagnation

This is a lawful state in which growth or development has stopped

Law of political irony

Kenneth defines the law of political irony as events where actions meant to benefit citizens actually harm them and vice versa.

Abstract abstraction