If you're a luck egalitarian, how come you read bedtime stories to your children?

Shlomi Segall*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


We now know that intimate forms of parental partiality, such as bedtime storytelling, may entrench socio-economic inequalities. Egalitarians will differ on how it is proper to handle the equality-upsetting effect of intimate parental partiality. Rawlsians propose mitigating the resulting inequalities in nurtured skills (that is, prevent them from translating into social and political advantages later in life). Luck egalitarians, in contrast, propose neutralizing them, e.g. requiring parents not to read bedtime stories if and when this gives the child an undue advantage later in life. It has been suggested (by Andrew Mason) that this implication shows luck egalitarianism to be counterintuitive. The paper responds to that challenge and shows why, once we differentiate between different motivations underlying parental partiality, the luck egalitarian position on bedtime reading is no less plausible than the Rawlsian mitigation approach.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)23-40
Number of pages18
JournalCritical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • basic structure
  • justice
  • luck egalitarianism
  • mitigation
  • parental partiality


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