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Durham University

Department of Philosophy


Publication details for Professor Thom Brooks

Brooks, Thom (2007). Equality and Democracy: The Problem of Minimal Competency. Ethical Perspectives 14(1): 3-12.

Author(s) from Durham


Thomas Christiano defends the intrinsic justice of democracy grounded in the principle of equal consideration of interests. Each citizen is entitled to a single vote, equal in weight to all other citizens. The problem with this picture is that all citizens must meet a threshold of minimal competence. My argument is that Christiano is wrong to claim a minimum threshold of competency is fully consistent with the principle of equality. While standards of minimal competency may be justifiable, these standards justify political inequality. This paper explores the relationship between equality and democracy in terms of minimal competency, demonstrating how minimal competency is justified and why it is inegalitarian in interesting ways.