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date: 06 July 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This essay reconstructs and assesses claims that utilitarianism and, more generally, consequentialism have inadequate conceptions of distributive justice, because their aggregative character ignores the separateness of persons. On this view, the separateness of persons requires a fundamentally anti-aggregative conception of distributive justice. Even if this objection applies to some forms of utilitarianism, it won’t apply to forms of consequentialism that recognize some conception of distributive justice as an important nonderivative good. Moreover, the separateness of persons poses, rather than resolves, questions about the role of aggregation within distributive justice. This essay explores the adequacy of some consequentialist answers to these questions and defends selective, rather than unrestricted, aggregation.

Keywords: aggregation, consequentialism, contractualism, distributive justice, egalitarianism, separateness of persons, sorites, transitivity, utilitarianism

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