Justice and Reverse Discrimination

Justice and Reverse Discrimination

Alan H. Goldman
Copyright Date: 1979
Pages: 264
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  • Book Info
    Justice and Reverse Discrimination
    Book Description:

    Through careful consideration of the mutually plausible yet conflicting arguments on both sides of the issue, Alan Goldman attempts to derive a morally consistent position on the justice (or injustice) of reverse discrimination. From a philosophical framework that appeals to a contractual model of ethics, he develops principles of rights, compensation, and equal opportunity. He then applies these principles to the issue at hand, bringing his conclusions to bear on an evaluation of Affirmative Action programs as they tend to work in practice.

    Originally published in 1979.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6860-5
    Subjects: Business, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. ONE Introduction
    (pp. 3-21)

    This book will present a sustained argument for a single coherent view on the question of preferential treatment for members of minority groups and women. Arguments derived from other philosophers and lawyers will be considered when relevant to the development of this view, but I shall not attempt to provide a survey of possible positions on each facet of the issue. Collections of articles representing different moral viewpoints on the subject are available, but in the course of writing several articles myself, I came to the conclusion that the subject cannot be treated adequately in such limited space. The issue...

  5. TWO Awarding Positions by Competence
    (pp. 22-64)

    The issue to be settled in this chapter is that of a general rule for hiring or awarding scarce desirable positions in society. In recent political debates on the subject of reverse discrimination or preferential hiring the principle of hiring by competence has seemed to remain sacrosanct, at least if one is to judge from the lip service paid to it by all sides of the discussion. Proponents of affirmative action at the level of hiring in universities go to great lengths to distinguish minority “goals” from quotas. While strict quotas for raising percentages of blacks and women employed by...

  6. THREE Compensation and the Past
    (pp. 65-140)

    In opening this chapter, I shall briefly indicate once more what was (and was not) established in the earlier sections of the previous chapter. I maintained that society has the right to enforce a rule for hiring the most competent in the name of public welfare and to protect individuals from arbitrary denials of equal opportunity. Individuals then acquire rights to various positions by satisfying the rule through their efforts. Although this rule was held to be superior to general distributive alternatives, it is important at this point to recognize its limits. First, it is applicable mainly to positions that...

  7. FOUR Equal Opportunity and the Future
    (pp. 141-229)

    Having justified reverse discrimination as compensation for past injustice in certain cases, I turn to the question of additional justification that looks not to the past but to the future benefits presumed to flow from adoption of preferential policies. Most future-looking arguments on the subject have been utilitarian arguments, those that look to long- or short-range benefits in public welfare—for example, social harmony among races—or to gains in satisfaction of interests among members of specific institutions for which the policy is advocated—for example, utility to students from diversity among classmates. As indicated earlier, two distinct questions must...

  8. FIVE Conclusion
    (pp. 230-234)

    Our initial conclusion was that those most competent to positions acquire rights to those positions. Such rights are recognized (or would be by rational contractors) in the name of universal utility and protection of equal opportunity. Their recognition limits the rights of corporations to hire whom they please, which, if permitted in a context of irrational biases, would result in losses in public welfare and unjust denial of equal opportunities. Hiring by competence was held preferable to such egalitarian alternatives as random lotteries for filling positions both on grounds of utility and in terms of rewarding effort.

    Those unjustly denied...

  9. NOTES
    (pp. 235-240)
    (pp. 241-246)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 247-251)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 252-252)