College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

3: Looking for a range property: Hobbes, Kant, and Rawls

The third in Professor Waldron's series of lectures "One Another's Equals: The Basis of Human Equality" will examine conceptions of the crucial or 'range' property that underpins equality among humans.

Lecture abstract

Each of these three philosophers identified what they regarded as a crucial property that underpinned basic equality among humans.

For Thomas Hobbes, it was our mutual vulnerability.

For Immanuel Kant, it was the momentous significance of our moral capacities.

And for John Rawls it was our possession of a sense of justice.

In A Theory of Justice (§77) Rawls introduced the idea of a ‘range property’ — a sort of threshold-based approach to the significance of variations in a certain range. We will explore this idea, which Hobbes and Kant also implicitly relied on.

Lecture video