Equality of opportunity and differences in social circumstances

Mason, Andrew (2004) Equality of opportunity and differences in social circumstances Philosophical Quarterly, 54, (216), pp. 368-388. (doi:10.1111/j.0031-8094.2004.00358.x).


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It is often supposed that the point of equality of opportunity is to create a level playing-field. This is understood in different ways, however. A common proposal is what I call the neutralization view: that people's social circumstances should not differentially affect their life chances in any serious way. I raise problems with this view, before developing an alternative conception of equal opportunity which allows some variations in social circumstances to create differences in life prospects. The meritocratic conception which I defend is grounded in the idea of respect for persons, and provides a less demanding interpretation of fair access to qualifications; it nevertheless places constraints on the behaviour of parents, and has implications for educational provision in schools.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1111/j.0031-8094.2004.00358.x
ISSNs: 0031-8094 (print)
Related URLs:
ePrint ID: 33953
Date :
Date Event
Date Deposited: 16 May 2006
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2017 22:14
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/33953

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