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Discrimination as Negligence

Discrimination as Negligence
15 Devonshire Place, room 200
Time: Mar 5th, 3:00 pm End: Mar 5th, 5:00 pm
Interest Categories: Women/Gender, South Asian, Sociology (FAS), Political Science, Philosophy (UTSC), Philosophy (UTM), Philosophy (FAS), Law, Faculty of , Latin American, Jewish Studies, Information, Faculty of, Indigenous, Ethics, Diaspora/Transnational, Criminology, Communications, Communication, Culture, Information and Technology (UTM), Anthropology (UTM), Anthropology (FAS), African, 2000-
Seminar by Sophie Reibetanz Moreau, Law, University of Toronto

The Centre for Ethics is pleased to present:
 
Sophia Reibetanz Moreau
Professor of Philosophy and Law
, University of Toronto
 
Discrimination as Negligence

 
Monday 5 March 2012
3:00 – 5:00 pm
Centre for Ethics, Room 200, Larkin Building, 15 Devonshire Place
 
The event is free & open to the public.  For further information, please contact the Centre for Ethics at (416) 978-6288.
 

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Abstract
There is a rich philosophical literature on the value of equality: on whether and why it matters; what its “currency” ought to be; and whether it should be balanced against other important values, such as freedom, or conceptualized in terms of equal access to them.  Most of this literature is a contribution to debates about distributive justice: it is concerned with how we should understand equality when our aim is to arrive at general principles of justice that could guide social or political authorities in distributing goods under their control.  But there is also a different context in which we can, and do, ask about equality.  Sometimes, when we ask whether someone has been treated equally, our aim is to assess whether they have faced discrimination.  This is, of course, what courts and human rights tribunals do when interpreting constitutional or statutory equality rights –for these rights are usually understood not as general rights to equal treatment in the distribution of social goods, but rather as rights not to be discriminated against on the basis of a select number of prohibited grounds.  Questions of distribution are clearly not irrelevant to claims of discrimination: indeed, in order to bring a claim of discrimination in most countries, a claimant must first show that she has been denied some good that others have been given access to.  But showing this is not sufficient to establish wrongful discrimination.  Something else is required, to turn an act of unequal distribution into a case of wrongful discrimination, and the central question raised by prohibitions on discrimination is what this is.  Is it, for instance, the motives with which the act is done?  Or the particular interests of the victim that are affected?  Or the effects of such actions on the broader group of people of which the victim is part?  Or some combination of these?
 
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Centre for Ethics
University of Toronto
6 Hoskin Avenue
Toronto, Ontario  M5S 1H8
 
T: 416-978-6288
F: 416-946-8069
ethics@utoronto.ca
www.ethics.utoronto.ca
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