Graduation Year

2015

Date of Submission

4-2015

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Philosophy and Public Affairs

Reader 1

Alex Rajczi

Reader 2

Andrew Schroeder

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2015 Julian E. Mackie

Abstract

How would a housing system work in a just society? How do we account for differences in opportunity according to one’s birthplace? These two questions, both a result of our recent housing crisis, can be addressed through inquiries into policy, economics, history, or other forms of social sciences. In this paper I attempt to address these questions instead through a philosophical lens by examining the principles that guide the distribution of goods in our society. It is from such a theory that we can construct the fairest government or economic policies.

Theories of distributive justice try to account for the fairest distribution of goods in a society. I take one such theory, John Rawls’ theory of justice as fairness, and apply it to the distribution of housing. I begin by deconstructing the core principles of Rawls’ theory and analyzing how each applies to housing. Then I make an argument about the fairness of these outcomes. My conclusion is, in fact, Rawls theory does not adequately account for the importance of housing in our society. In doing so, I hope to demonstrate the inequalities that face families throughout our society by illustrating the profound impact of housing on one’s well-being as well as one’s opportunity to succeed.

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