Abstract: It has been argued that since moral equality does not depend on descriptive equality, egalitarians should stop worrying about research on the causes of human inequalities. In this talk, I argue that this way of framing the problem is misguided and that egalitarians have reasons to worry about and, potentially, to interfere with this line of scientific inquiry. Depending on the circumstances, egalitarians may want to adopt different strategies towards such research. Some such strategies rely on insisting that empirical research and political values are and should be separated: moral commitments to moral equality do not depend (and should not depend) on empirical findings about descriptive inequalities. Morality and scientific research are, following Stephen Jay Gould, ‘non overlapping magisteria’. Other strategies rely instead in the sociological insight that this is seldom the case and consider interference with research on the causes of human inequalities justified. Both sets of strategies may have important side-effects, which are discussed in this presentation.
This internal talk is for Oxford Uehiro Centre members and associates.
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