Born Free and Equal?: A Philosophical Inquiry into the Nature of Discrimination

Hardcover | November 6, 2013

byKasper Lippert-Rasmussen

not yet rated|write a review
What is discrimination? There are certain instances of differential treatment that almost anyone would describe as discriminatory; yet upon deeper examination, this near-unanimity gives way to disagreement and difference. For instance, is it discrimination when hospitals hire non-smokers only?Not only do people differ on which cases of differential treatment they see as discriminatory, they also disagree about when discrimination is morally wrong; what makes it morally wrong; and, indeed, about whether all forms of discrimination are morally wrong! Finally, many disagree over what shouldbe done about wrongful discrimination - especially about what the state could permissibly do to eliminate wrongful discrimination, e.g. in people's love lives. This book addresses these issues. It argues that there are different concepts of discrimination and that different purposes pertaining to different contexts determine which one is the most useful. It gives special attention to a concept of discrimination that ties discrimination to differentialtreatment of people on the basis of their membership in socially salient groups. Second, it argues that when discrimination is wrong, it is so first and foremost because of its harmful effects. Third, it takes issue with some of the standard devices used to counteract discrimination and submits thatcombating discrimination requires more than state actions. Finally, it argues that states may sometimes permissibly discriminate.

Pricing and Purchase Info


Ships within 1-3 weeks
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

What is discrimination? There are certain instances of differential treatment that almost anyone would describe as discriminatory; yet upon deeper examination, this near-unanimity gives way to disagreement and difference. For instance, is it discrimination when hospitals hire non-smokers only?Not only do people differ on which cases of...

Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen (D.Phil., Oxford) is professor of political theory at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. He works primarily in political and moral philosophy and has published in journals such as Journal of Political Philosophy, Ethics, Philosophy and Public Affairs, Philosophical Studies, Economics and Philosophy, and The Jo...

other books by Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen

Luck Egalitarianism
Luck Egalitarianism

Kobo ebook|Oct 8 2015


Format:HardcoverDimensions:368 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:November 6, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199796114

ISBN - 13:9780199796113

Look for similar items by category:


Extra Content

Table of Contents

Introduction1. The questions2. The approach3. Overview of the bookPart I: The concept of discrimination1. What is discrimination?1. Introduction2. Discrimination in the generic sense3. Irrelevance discrimination4. The moralized concept of discrimination5. Group discrimination6. Social salience7. Because8. Treatment9. SummaryAppendix 1: MethodologyAppendix 2: Discrimination skeptics: Oppression and dominance2. Indirect discrimination1. The distinction between direct and indirect discrimination2. Altman's definition3. The no-intention condition4. The disadvantage condition5. The disproportionateness condition6. Sufficient for indirect discrimination?7. Direct vs. indirect discrimination8. ConclusionAppendix 1: Some other definitions of indirect discriminationAppendix 2: Institutional and structural discrimination3. Statistical discrimination1. Introduction2. Statistical discrimination vs. non-statistical discrimination3. Direct vs. indirect, statistical discrimination4. What statistical discrimination is not5. ConclusionAppendix: Genetic discrimination and social saliencePart II: The wrongness of discrimination4. Mental state based accounts1. Introduction2. Some common accounts3. Mental states and permissibility4. Different mental state accounts5. Alexander on disrespect and discrimination: The falsehood account6. Alexander on disrespect and discrimination: The comparative falsehood account7. Alexander on disrespect and discrimination: The irrational, comparative falsehood account8. Conclusion5. Objective meaning accounts1. Introduction2. Hellman's account: Demeaning others3. Some challenges to Hellman's account4. Scanlon on racial discrimination and the meaning of actions5. An important ambiguity6. Some worries about Scanlon's account7. The moral distinctiveness of discrimination based on judgments of inferiority8. Conclusion6. Harm-based accounts1. Introduction2. The essentials of the harm-based account3. The baseline issue4. The metric of harm5. Some challenges to the harm-based account6. A desert-prioritarian account7. Some objections8. A test case: Moral wrongness of indirect discrimination9. ConclusionAppendix: Moreau on deliberative freedom and discriminationPart III: Neutralizing discrimination7. Discrimination and the aim of proportional representation1. Introduction2. The Simple View and ambition-sensitivity3. The Counterfactual, Holistic View4. Which counterfactual scenario?5. Is absence of discrimination necessary for suitable representation?6. Second-best representational aims7. Conclusion8. Discrimination in punishment1. Introduction2. Loci of legal discrimination3. Criteria vs. indicators of discrimination4. The pure discrimination case5. The no-complaint argument6. Conclusion9. Reaction qualifications1. Introduction2. Discounting qualifications based on illegitimate preferences3. Refining meritocracy4. Illegitimate preferences not disadvantaging targeted groups5. Respect and reaction qualifications6. Conclusion10. Discrimination in the private sphere1. Introduction2. A legal duty to engage in wrongful private discrimination3. A legal right to engage in wrongful private discrimination4. A legal duty not to engage in wrongful private discrimination5. A legal duty or permission to engage in private discrimination that is not wrongful6. A legal duty not to engage in private discrimination that is not wrongful7. Conclusion11. Racial profiling1. Introduction2. A right to be treated as an individual3. Unequal treatment4. Unfairness5. The making of statistical facts and the justifiability of statistical discrimination6. Putting the argument to the interpersonal test7. Non-comprehensively justified?8. Challenges9. ConclusionBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"[Lippert-Rasmussen] is a master of advancing discussion on a topic by showing that where the rest of us saw only two or three possible positions, there are many positions, often smeared together in a confused way in prior writings on the topic. The different views need to be carefullydistinguished, and we then need to look carefully at what can be said for and against each in turn. When we do this, our view of the issues significantly shifts. This method and its fruits are evident throughout the book... [The] author's analytical skill and creative imagination in followingthrough this method make the book a pleasure to read." --Richard J. Arneson, Professor of Philosophy, University of California, San Diego