Equality, Community, and the Scope of Distributive Justice: A Partial Defense of Cohen’s Vision

  • Dong-Ryul Choo
Keywords: community, distributive justice, equality, G. A. Cohen, luck egalitarianism


Luck egalitarians equalize the outcome enjoyed by people who exemplify the same degree of distributive desert by removing the influence of luck. They also try to calibrate differential rewards according to the pattern of distributive desert. This entails that they have to decide upon, among other things, the rate of reward, i.e., a principled way of distributing rewards to groups exercising different degrees of the relevant desert. However, the problem of the choice of reward principle is a relatively and undeservedly neglected issue among luck egalitarians. The main goal of this paper is to highlight the importance and difficulty of this problem, and to elaborate upon G. A. Cohen's community-oriented response to it. In the last section, I provide a taxonomy of distributive pluralism, contrasting Cohen’s view with other (not so genuine) pluralisms - especially with all-things-considered varieties - while trying to motivate readers to adopt the more robust form of pluralism.