Did God Create Us Equal?

Turning his attention now to human equality and its relationship to concepts of God, Professor Waldron offered the following alternative challenges:20150126_Gifford_Lecture

  1. Can there be a religious argument for equality which holds firm in the present day?
  2. Or accepting some original theological foundations for human equality, can the ‘jist of the argument be detached from its religious scaffolding’?
  3. Or can there be an elaborated account of human equality without any association with theology?

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Reconciling Equality and Human Difference


Building on his adoption last week of John Rawls’ concept of ‘range properties’, that above certain thresholds we all can be considered as bearing ‘equal’ moral capacity irrespective of our variation within the range, Professor Waldron tonight concentrated on working through the challenges and implications that would follow. In other words, if the concept of ‘range properties’ is to form the foundation of ‘basic human equality’, what are the depths of resilience it requires in order to stand firm from possible attack? How can it possess the necessary heft to undergird the potentially momentous or troubling practical consequences that would follow if we all are held to attain such properties, such as the equal treatment before the law of totalitarian dictators or terrorists who have committed acts of unquestionable evil like mass murder? Continue reading

Looking for a Range Property

What are the basic features of the cluster of principles that we would associate with humanEdinburgh University Old College Quad quad, after refurbishment. equality? How do we move from the general to the particular to answer the fundamental question: if the presence of a ‘continuous’ equality amongst humans is to be accepted, or even a ‘distinctive’ equality which would raise us to a higher worth than animals, what then is such equality actually based upon? Continue reading

What is ‘human equality’? Looking forward to the Gifford Lectures 2015

‘What does it mean to say we are all one another’s equals?’ and ‘ On what is this human equality based?’ These are some of the key questions that Professor Jeremy Waldron intends to explore in the six Gifford Lectures taking place at Edinburgh University in late January to early February. Those questions are crucial to the strong current directions in public life which view the levelling of differences towards legal, economic or social equality as a central aim. Unless we dig down to form an understanding of the ‘why’ and ‘what’ of basic human equality, then the purpose, content and goal of its implementation in the ‘how’ might remain somewhat elusive. Continue reading