Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

George Rainbolt

Second Advisor

Andrew Altman

Third Advisor

Peter Lindsay

Abstract

In Rescuing Justice and Equality, G. A. Cohen argues that a state of affairs which is equality preserving and Pareto-optimal is possible. In doing so, Cohen adopts an incorrect view of practical possibility. For Cohen, a person (A) being able to realize a given state of affairs is evidence that most persons can realize that same state of affairs. In contrast, I contend that an example of person A being able to realize a state of affairs only evidences the fact that persons who possess similar talents to A can realize that same state of affairs. That is to say, on my view, a state of affairs is practically possible if and only if it is logically, nomologically, and psychologically possible for nearly all persons. As a result, I contend that an equality preserving and Pareto-optimal state of affairs is practically impossible.

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