Utilitarianism and egalitarianism are theories of distributive justice that both implore us to help those who can most benefit, those who can gain the greatest increase in welfare. But whereas egalitarian theories tell us to help those who are in some way worse off, utilitarianism seeks to place resources where they will do the most good. Utilitarianism often differs from egalitarian theories in the area of disability. This book argues that utilitarianism handles distributive issues involving disability better than do egalitarianism. It offers examples involving interpersonal comparisons of welfare and considers moral intuition as well as the relationship between disability and welfare, the problem of aggregation, and the distribution of life. It looks at three of the most prominent resource egalitarians—John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin, and Bruce Ackerman—and shows that each had to modify their theories in order to provide redistribution to the disabled.
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