in: Carina Fourie, Fabian Schuppert, and Ivo Wallimann-Helmer (eds.): Social Equality - On What It Means to Be Equals, New York: Oxford University Press 2015, pp. 146-166.
This essay examines the relationship between the value, or good, of relationships of social equality, and justice. It analyzes what is at stake in the disagreement between views that conceive of the two as distinct social and political values, and views that subordinate concern for social equality to concern for justice, understood along liberal egalitarian lines, and seek to account for it entirely in terms of the latter. In doing so, it devotes particular attention to inegalitarian norms of social status. Social status is a phenomenon opposition to which is central to the value of social equality, whereas liberal justice-based accounts seem to have a much harder time with it: it seems unclear whether they are capable of accounting properly for its importance, and objectionableness. Accordingly, the essay examines which resources the latter views possess to deal with the problem, and points out several advantages that such a status-sensitive conception of liberal justice has over “pluralist” accounts, in terms of the unity and stringency of the demands that it issues, and its capacity to single out particularly objectionable features of inegalitarian status norms while abstaining from putting forward conceptions, or ideals, of the good social life.