Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Joseph Long


Within social and political philosophy, egalitarianism entails some social theory of equality. In this paper, I will focus on a contemporary relational form of egalitarianism, a theory of Elizabeth Anderson which she calls "Democratic Equality." Through Democratic Equality, Anderson promotes a vision of egalitarianism which seeks to give individuals the capacity to stand in equal relations with one another in society. Although equal relations is a fine goal for egalitarianism (and perhaps the best goal for any egalitarianism), I will argue that Democratic Equality as Anderson describes it is not sufficient to achieve these relations. Ultimately, her theory is insufficient because it lacks the distributive component necessary to give individuals the material capacity to stand in equal social and political relations. I will propose a broad shift in socioeconomic structure as an addition to Democratic Equality, specifically towards what John Rawls calls a liberal socialist regime. Under this regime, means of production are distributed more equally among workers, allowing citizens to stand in equal relations with one another.

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Philosophy Commons