Why We Should be Negative about Positive Egalitarianism

Shlomi Segall*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The article assesses recent attempts to deflect two persistent objections to Positive Egalitarianism (PE), the view that equality adds to the goodness of a state of affairs. The first says that PE entails bringing into existence individuals who are equal to each other in leading horrible lives, such that they are worth not living. I assess three strategies for deflecting this objection: offering a restricted version of PE; biting the bullet; and pressing a levelling out counter-objection. The second objection points out that for any world A containing many individuals all leading very satisfying lives, and in perfect equality, PE prefers a much larger, perfectly equal population Z with much lower (yet positive) well-being. I review two main strategies for avoiding this Repellent Conclusion: a Capped Model and making egalitarianism sensitive to welfare levels. Both solutions, I show, are worse than the problems they are meant to solve.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)414-430
Number of pages17
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019.


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