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What's so Bad about Discrimination?




The article argues that discrimination is bad as such when and because it undermines equality of opportunity. It shows, first, that other accounts, such as those concerning intent, efficiency, false representation, prejudice, respect and desert cannot account for the badness of discrimination as such. The inequality of opportunity account, in contrast, captures everything that is bad about discrimination. The article then addresses some counter-examples of practices that are discriminatory without arguably entailing inequality of opportunity, where the notable case is that of segregation. It is further demonstrated that the ‘equality of opportunity’ account successfully handles some of the tricky aspects associated with discrimination, such as those concerning the confinement of discrimination to salient groups, ‘buying off’ discriminatees by means of financial compensation, ‘discrimination’ in the selection of life partners, and the duties of employers.

Suggested Citation

  • Segall, Shlomi, 2012. "What's so Bad about Discrimination?," Utilitas, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(01), pages 82-100, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:utilit:v:24:y:2012:i:01:p:82-100_00

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