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When Is Discrimination Wrong?


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Table of Contents

* Introduction: The Discrimination Puzzle Part I: When is Discrimination Wrong? * The Basic Idea * Demeaning and Wrongful Discrimination * Interpretation and Disagreement Part II: Considering Alternatives Introduction to Part II * Merit, Entitlement and Desert * Accuracy and Irrationality * It's Not the Thought that Counts * Conclusion * Notes * Acknowledgments * Index

Promotional Information

Although democracy is committed to an ideal of equal treatment, we do not always agree on what that commitment requires. In this bold effort to work out when we may morally draw distinctions among people, Deborah Hellman unearths assumptions and unspoken biases that have invisibly corrupted political debates, such as those about affirmative action and the accommodation of the disabled. Cutting through misleading distinctions and false dichotomies, she gets to the heart of what equality means. -- Rebecca Brown, Allen Professor of Law, Vanderbilt University Deborah Hellman has produced one of the most thoughtful and engaging works on equality I know, beautifully written and meticulously argued. Anyone who thinks seriously about equality and discrimination must take account of her argument. -- Louis Michael Seidman, Professor of Constitutional Law, Georgetown University In a thoughtful analysis, Hellman argues that discrimination is a demeaning speech-act, and is wrongful on these grounds rather than in virtue of its motivation or effects. Her book is an important contribution to the literature on discrimination and expressive theories of law. -- Matthew D. Adler, Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School

About the Author

Deborah Hellman is D. Lurton Massie Professor of Law and F. D. G. Ribble Professor of Law at the University of Virginia Law School.


In When Is Discrimination Wrong? Deborah Hellman has taken on the important and difficult task of trying to establish logically consistent rules for determining just where in that fuzzy territory the line between legitimate and illegitimate discrimination should be drawn. Hellman's writing is clear and engaging, her examples relevant to the daily lives of many...Read Hellman's book as a very competent spur to thinking through for yourself the issues involved in appropriate and inappropriate discrimination. There'll probably be a fly in the ointment of the thesis you come up with too, but the process of thinking it all through can only be good for us all. -- Wendy Johnson Times Higher Education Supplement 20080904 [Hellman] has provided a coherent, thoughtful approach that advances understanding of this intractable problem. -- P. J. Galie Choice 20081201

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