Prominent non-consequentialist distributive theories say that when scarce goods are distributed, those with “stronger claims” to goods should be prioritized. Yet, they rarely specify how the strengths of claims are fixed within and across possible outcomes, how claims determine what one ought to do, and what the views say about cases involving future generations.
With a focus on distributive theories with prioritarian elements, the project will over three years:
(i) conduct an in-depth analysis of how distributive theories that refer to individuals’ claims understand what a claim is and how the strengths of claims are fixed,
(ii) present and analyze a new view of how one ought to respond to individuals’ claims, and
(iii) explore whether a differentiation between claims of existing people and claims of merely possible people can provide the foundation of a plausible theory of what to do in cases involving future generations.
The overarching purpose is to present a framework for claim-based distributive theories. The project is located in the distributive-theoretical tradition, but besides its obvious relevance for distributive theory, it has important implications for population ethics and all research (philosophical as well as social-scientific) that studies distributions of scarce goods. Since scarcity is a ubiquitous societal problem, the project also has wide-reaching relevance for society.