Equality, Opportunity and Difference

Course summary

Equality, Opportunity and Difference


If we were asked which principles we’d like to see govern our society, many if not most people in the West would refer to equality. Yet our society is currently more unequal that ever (on one measurement of equality). Few would advocate strict equality, according to which resources would be divided equally amongst everyone. Such a distribution seems guaranteed to ensure inequality. But if this is not what we mean, what do we mean? And what resources do we want to distribute equally – material goods, or goods such as well-being or happiness? Or is it that we want to ensure equality of opportunity, so that equality of outcome is not something that we aim for? During this weekend we will look at these difficult questions, and others. There will be plenty of opportunity to socialise with other participants and with the speakers.

Programme details



2.45pm         Course Registration


3.00pm         Distributional and Relational Equality

                     JO WOLFF


4.30pm         Tea / coffee


5.00pm         Equality and Difference

                     ALICE BADERIN


6.30pm         Break / bar open


7.00pm         Dinner


8.15pm-        Equality of Opportunity

9.30pm         JO WOLFF  





8.15am         Breakfast (residents only)


9.30am         Equality and Epistemic Relations

                     ALICE BADERIN


10.45am       Coffee / tea


11.15am       Q & A

Questions directed by MARIANNE TALBOT


12.30pm       Break / bar open


1.00pm         Lunch


2.00pm         Course disperses



Recommended reading



Distributional and Relational Equality:

Elizabeth Anderson, What is the Point of Equality? Ethics 1999

Jonathan Wolff,  Equality: The Recent History of An Idea Journal of Moral Philosophy 2007


Equality of Opportunity:

Janet Radcliffe Richards, Equality of Opportunity Ratio 1998

G.A. Cohen Why Not Socialism? Princeton University Press 2009


Equality and Difference:

Will Kymlicka, Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Introduction 2002 (2nd edition), Chapter 8

Brian Barry, Culture and Equality: An Egalitarian Critique of Multiculturalism 2001, Chapter 2


Equality and Epistemic Relations:

Miranda Fricker, Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing 2007, Chapters 1 and 2

Elizabeth Anderson, Epistemic Justice as a Virtue of Social Institutions, Social Epistemology 2012



Accommodation for this weekend is at Rewley House for Saturday night only.


Depending on availability it may also be possible to extend your stay, please enquire at the time of booking for availability and prices.


All bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms.


Unfortunately it is not yet possible to book twin room accommodation online, so if you wish to book a twin room, please send in your completed enrolment form or contact the Day & Weekend Events Office, Email: ppdayweek@conted.ox.ac.uk; Telephone: + 44 (0) 1865 270380 / 270368.



Tuition (includes tea/coffee): £77.00


If you are in receipt of a state benefit you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

If you do not qualify for the concessionary fee but are experiencing financial hardship, you may still be eligible for financial assistance.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Dr Alice Baderin


Alice Baderin is a Postdoctoral Prize Research Fellow in Politics at Nuffield College, University of Oxford. Her current research focuses on the ethics of risk and on problems of method in political philosophy.

Professor Jonathan Wolff


Jonathan Wolff is the Blavatnik Chair of Public Policy, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, having previously been Professor of Philosophy at UCL. His writings include An Introduction to Political Philosophy (OUP, 3rd edition 2016) and Ethics and Public Policy (OUP 2011).

Ms Marianne Talbot

Director of Studies


Marianne Talbot took her first degree at London University, then her B.Phil at Oxford (Corpus Christi College). She has taught for the colleges of Oxford University for 30 years (1987 – 1990 at Pembroke College, 1991 – 2000 at Brasenose College). She has been Director of Studies in Philosophy at OUDCE since 2001. She is the author of Bioethics: An Introduction, and Critical Reasoning: A Romp Through the Foothills of Logic. Marianne’s podcasts have been hugely popular. Two of them have been global number one on iTunesU. One of these (The Nature of Arguments) has been downloaded 7 million times.