To be fair: claims have amounts and strengths

Stefan Wintein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


John Broome (Proc Aristot Soc 91:87–101, 1990) has developed an influential theory of fairness, which has generated a thriving debate about the nature of fairness. In its initial conception, Broomean fairness is limited to a comparative notion. More recent commentators such as Hooker (Ethical Theory Moral Pract 8:329–52, 2005), Saunders (Res Publica 16:41–55, 2010), Lazenby (Utilitas 26:331–345, 2014), Curtis (Analysis 74:47–57, 2014) have advocated, for different reasons, to also take into account non-comparative fairness. Curtis’ (Analysis 74:47-57, 2014) theory does just that. He also claims that he furthers Broome’s theory by saying precisely what one must do in order to be fair. However, Curtis departs from Broome’s (Proc Aristot Soc 91:87-101, 1990) requirement that claims are satisfied in proportion to their strength. He neglects claim-strengths altogether and identifies claims with their amount. As a result, the theory of Curtis has limited scope. I present a theory of fairness that fulfils all three desiderata: it incorporates non-comparative fairness, it recognizes that claims have both amounts and strengths, and it tells us precisely what one must do in order to be fair.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-464
Number of pages22
JournalSocial Choice and Welfare
Issue number3
Early online date9 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2023.


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