The ethics of anti-discrimination policies

Authored by: Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen

The Routledge Handbook of Ethics and Public Policy

Print publication date:  November  2018
Online publication date:  October  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138201279
eBook ISBN: 9781315461731
Adobe ISBN:


 Download Chapter



This chapter starts with a definition of anti-discrimination policies and introduces a number of dimensions along which they differ before zooming in on a particular form of anti-discrimination policy: affirmative action. This is motivated by how many other forms of anti-discrimination policies are comparatively uncontroversial and raise less interesting moral questions, whereas affirmative action seems vulnerable to the apparently decisive reverse discrimination objection. Hence, I consider and rebut this objection before proceeding to review some other objections to and some of the most important justifications for affirmative action. While generally favourable towards affirmative action, this review is somewhat open-ended, since the question ‘Is affirmative action justified?’ is posed at a level of generality which is too high for it to have any plausible ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer. The chapter ends by suggesting that anti-discrimination policies extend beyond the labour market and higher education.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.