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Distributive Justice and DisabilityUtilitarianism against Egalitarianism$
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Mark S. Stein

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780300100570

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300100570.001.0001

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(p.158) VIII Ackerman
Distributive Justice and Disability

Mark S. Stein

Yale University Press

This chapter examines Bruce Ackerman's approach to compensating the disabled and Philippe Van Parijs's adaptation of Ackerman's approach. It first considers Ackerman's two-part principle of Neutrality and his illustration of the operation of this principle by imagining a group of space explorers who land on an unoccupied planet containing a single resource. Ackerman argues that a utilitarian justification for giving some people more than an equal share would fail the test of Neutrality. The chapter also looks at Ackerman's discussion of disability, particularly genetic disability, and his notion of a “Master Geneticist.” It suggests that Ackerman's theory resists the golden mean of utilitarianism and considers his discussion of disability compensation in connection with genetic blindness. Finally, it discusses Van Parijs's endorsement of Ackerman's principle of undominated diversity as the proper measure of redistribution from the nondisabled to the disabled.

Keywords:   disability, Bruce Ackerman, Philippe Van Parijs, principle of Neutrality, genetic disability, utilitarianism, compensation, genetic blindness, undominated diversity, redistribution

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