Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Politics and International Relations

Reader 1

Mark Golub

Reader 2

Rivka Weinberg

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2016 Emilie Ho


In the last four decades, luck egalitarianism has emerged as a hotly debated theory of distributive justice. The tenet, in its most normative sense, calls for distribution or assistance when circumstances of disadvantage arise from bad luck that is independent of human influence. Disadvantages that can be traced back to individual choice and responsibility, on the other hand, are left for the sufferer to bear. In this paper, I argue that luck egalitarianism should be abandoned as a standard for determining whether a disadvantage should be addressed, because the assumption that there are instances of disadvantage completely attributable to individual choice is flawed. Brute luck, or luck that emerges from beyond human control, influences most human outcomes, making it difficult to confidently attribute outcomes to option luck, or luck that stems from human choice. Without option luck, luck egalitarianism becomes obsolete as the principle rests on the distinction between brute and option luck.