Inequalities and Catastrophe - Paul Dumouchel - Vita e Pensiero - Articolo Studi di Sociologia Vita e Pensiero

Inequalities and Catastrophe

digital Inequalities and Catastrophe
Fascicolo STUDI DI SOCIOLOGIA - 2021 - 4
Titolo Inequalities and Catastrophe
Editore Vita e Pensiero
Formato Articolo | Pdf
Online da 11-2021
Doi 10.26350/000309_000126
Issn 0039-291X (stampa) | 1827-7896 (digitale)
€ 6,00

Ebook in formato Pdf leggibile su questi device:

Using empirical evidence concerning catastrophes I show that the conception of inequalities dominant in social ethics is inadequate, that it misrepresent the reality it pretends to analyze and evaluate. Disaster studies make clear that catastrophes regularly entrench existing inequalities, making the poor and vulnerable poorer and more vulnerable, and the rich richer. In consequence, I argue, the  distinction between legitimate and unjustified inequalities disappears. This well established empirical result undermines a central presupposition of major theories of social justice: that in themselves  inequalities are morally neutral. Whether “justice as fairness”, “brute luck” or “desert” theories all these approaches to social justice are challenged by the effect of catastrophes on pre-existing inequalities. In a second part, I argue that this properly catastrophic result for theories of social justice is related to the fact that they tend to identify, if not sometimes to conceived inequalities as  properties of agents, while they are relational properties rather than properties of isolated individuals.


Catastrophe, Legitimate inequalities, Theories of justice, Relational properties.

Biografia dell'autore

Département de philosophie, Université du Québec à Montréal. Email:

Inserire il codice per attivare il servizio.