Universiteit Leiden

nl en


CPP Colloquium: "Property and Social Equality"

Thursday 21 September 2023
CPP Colloquia 2023-2024
Pieterskerkhof 6
2311 SR Leiden

The Centre of Political Philosophy is pleased to announce a lecture by Han van Wietmarschen, associate professor at ULC -London's Global University.

Dr. Han van Wietmarschen

Social egalitarians argue that justice requires that all members of society have an equal social standing. One of the key motivations of early social egalitarians was to challenge an exclusive focus on distributive justice in the interpretation of the political ideal of equality. It is true that unjust social hierarchies may cause objectionable distributive inequalities, and that distributive inequalities can give rise to hierarchical social relationships. But, distributive inequalities do not constitute inequalities of social standing. Consequently, as long as the equal social standing of all members of society can be guaranteed, justice allows significant distributive inequalities to play themselves out. I propose to take a closer look at the main legal vehicle for the unequal distribution of resources in contemporary societies: property rights. Material inequalities are rarely sheer differences in access to goods; instead, they are inequalities in a complex cluster of rights and obligations regulating the behaviour of all members of society. I argue that these kinds of inequality in the authority individuals have over the treatment of various goods, and, by extension, over the behaviour of others, constitute inequalities in social standing. The upshot is that we should think of inequalities in what people own as a direct threat to their equal social standing, not merely as a cause of other forms of social hierarchy. 

About the Center for Political Philosophy (CPP) Colloquia Series

The CPP is a collaboration between the Institute for Philosophy and the Institute for Political Science at Leiden University. Attendance of the Colloquia is free and there is no need to register. See CPP for more information. For further questions please contact dr. Tim Meijers at t.meijers@hum.leidenuniv.nl

All are welcome!

This website uses cookies.  More information.