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Structural Injustice and the Tyranny of Scales

In: Journal of Moral Philosophy
Author:
Kirun Sankaran Department of Philosophy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, nc, United States, kirun@email.unc.edu

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Abstract

What features of structural injustice distinguish it from mere collections of injustices committed by individuals? I argue that the standard model of moral judgment that centers agents and actions fails to adequately articulate what’s gone wrong in cases of structural injustice. It fails because features of the social world that arise only at large scale are normatively salient, but unaccounted for by the standard model. I illustrate these features with historical examples of normatively-different outcomes driven by institutional structure rather, holding fixed characteristics of agents’ motivations. I then defend the view from reductionist objections.

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