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If you’re an egalitarian, how come you help your kids with their homework?

By Jonathan Derbyshire  

Family Values

Families, argue Harry Brighouse and Adam Swift in their new book “Family Values”, are a “problem” for proponents of the egalitarian ideal. “One does not have to favour anything as far-fetched and widely discredited as equality of outcome,” they write, “to be concerned about the unequalising influence of family background.”

It’s clear that children born into different families have unequal life chances. But, Brighouse and Swift observe, there is disagreement among political philosophers and social theorists about “how much, or what aspects, of that inequality count as unjust.” After all,…

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