From Rawlsian Autonomy to Sufficient Opportunity in Education

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Equality of Opportunity is widely thought of as the normative ideal most relevant to the design of educational institutions. One widely discussed interpretation of this ideal is Rawls' principle of Fair Equality of Opportunity. In this paper I argue that theories, like Rawls , that give priority to the achievement of individual autonomy, are committed to giving that same priority to a principle of sufficient opportunity. Thus, the Rawlsian's primary focus when designing educational institutions should be on sufficiency and not equality. The paper then argues this commitment has at least three attractive implications. Firstly, it enables defenders of Fair Equality of Opportunity to overcome Richard Arneson's powerful objections. Secondly, it suggests a revised version of the principle of Fair Equality of Opportunity that is more plausible. Thirdly, it has attractive practical implications for educational provision.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalPolitics, Philosophy & Economics
Early online date10 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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