Social Philosophy and Policy

Research Article

Justice: Real or Social?

Antony Flewa1

a1 Philosophy, York University


At one point in Taking Rights Seriously, Ronald Dworkin sketches an argument which would today be widely acceptable. He writes: “The University of Washington might argue that, whatever effect minority preference will have on average welfare, it will make the community more equal, and therefore more just.” It is perhaps not certain that Dworkin himself accepts that immediate inference as sound. There can, however, be no doubt but that: first, many if not most people speaking or writing today in this area do indeed take ‘equality’ to be as near as makes no matter synonymous with ‘equity’; and, second, they do indeed also identify doing (at any rate social) justice with bringing about (ever more, if never perfect) equality of condition.