Sufficientarianism, Philosophy Compass, early view.
Sufficiency Principle, International Encyclopedia of Ethics, LaFollette, Hugh (ed.) (2013). The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell. Wiley Online Library: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/book/10.1002/9781444367072
“Parental Rights and the Importance of Being Parents”, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 22 (2), 2019.
“Reply to Critics”, Law Ethics and Philosophy, 5 (2018), 210-230.
“Private School, College Admissions and the Value of Education”, forthcoming in Journal of Applied Philosophy, 35 (2), 2018.
“How Bad Can a Good Enough Parent Be?”, Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 46 (2), 2016
“Some Questions (and Answers) for Sufficientarians” in Fourie, C. and Rid, A. (ed.s) How Much Is Enough? Sufficiency and Thresholds in Health Care, Oxford University Press, 2016
“From Rawlsian Autonomy to Sufficient Opportunity in Education”, Politics, Philosophy & Economics 14.1 (2015): 53-66. DOI: 10.1177/1470594X13505413
“The Prospects for Sufficientarianism”, Utilitas 24.1 (2012): 101-117
“Review of Harry G. Frankfurt’s ‘On Inequality'”, Disputatio
Abstract: in this paper I argue that upper-limit sufficientarianism suffers from a major problem stemming from its distinctive indifference to supra-threshold distributions. I argue that supra-threshold distributions must either be relevant justice or irrelevant to justice, but facing up to this distinction shows that upper-limit sufficientarian face a dilemma. Either supra-threshold distributions are relevant to justice, and the indifference to those distributions is incoherent or supra-threshold distributions are irrelevant to justice, and indifference to those distributions is trivial as it is not a matter of justice nor is it a contested claim.
Abstract: In this paper I examine the most prominent position in the debate about justice in the costs of children: the public goods approach. According to the public goods approach, non-parents can be required to share the costs of children, perhaps through the machinations of the welfare state, because children are a special benefit to them: a public good. I will make two critical claims about this position. First, I will argue that that the position explicitly answers only one of the three questions central to an account of justice in the costs of children: the question of Who can be required to share the costs, and it therefore neglects the very important question of How Much those who can be required to share the cost can be required to share. This question of How Much is highly significant because the answer to it will determine how generous the welfare state can be, the main reason why we are even drawn to the question of justice in the costs of children in the first place. Second, I will argue that a deeper examination of the core commitments of the public goods approach severely constraints the costs that non-parents can be required to share, and therefore limits the extent of public support for parents to a level below what seems to be assumed by proponents of the argument and by much contemporary practice. In light of this, proponents of the public goods approach must find another argument to support further cost-sharing, or else significantly pare back their ambitions for the welfare state and cost sharing among parents and non-parents.
Abstract: Current empirical research on fairness and university admissions has overlooked debates in normative philosophy about fairness and equality of opportunity in education. As a consequence, empirical studies often apply an indefensible standard of fairness and this threatens to invalidate the conclusions they draw with respect to the fairness of university admissions. However, the philosophical literature in question often neglects the practical and epistemic limitations faced by educational institutions and policy-makers to the extent that the accounts of fairness espoused are not practically useful. In addition, when applied to currently unjust societies many influential theories of fairness give highly counter-intuitive guidance. In this paper I develop an account of fairness that is both practical useful in the context of empirical studies and philosophically defensible, even in our unjust world.
To this end,the paper is structured as follows. In Section One, I review two commonly used standards of fairness that have been applied to university admissions and find them wanting in terms of their philosophical defensibility. This underlines the importance of linking conceptions of fairness used in empirical studies and policy debates to the philosophical literature. In Section Two, I draw on the philosophical literature on equality of opportunity and revise one prominent account to better respond to existing inequality and injustice, and to make it practical useful. I call this conception Non-Ideal Fair Equality of Opportunity. This underlines the importance of taking into account of existing injustice and the epistemic and practical limitations we face. In Section Three, I draw out the implications of Non-Ideal Fair Equality of Opportunity for university admissions and discuss how it might support recent proposals for more radical changes to admissions using contextual data. Section Four concludes the paper.
Abstract: In spite of the uncontroversial nature of its aim, parental licensing proposals have met with significant criticism in both a principled and a pragmatic form. In this paper I will offer a rebuttal of these objections and defend parental licensing as, in principle, justifiable in order to reduce harm, while also raising a new pragmatic concern, which directs us to take into account the likely effects of parental licensing on the supply of prospective adoptive parents. I aim to motivate a re-examination of licensing.by showing that the principled objections fail.