Robert Kappius

Interpretations of «equal opportunity» in practice: Comparing the feasibility of divergent concepts

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Equality of opportunity, measurement, feasibility restrictions, taxonomy.

Within the notion «equality of opportunity» («EOp»), diverse conceptualizations compete for the privilege of interpretation. Although these concepts may adapt to various normative attitudes, they tacitly express divergent fundamental positions for interpreting «EOp». Which concept to choose? This article assesses whether feasibility restrictions - apart from ubiquitous philosophical debating - can serve to choose a suitable concept from the menu of available interpretations. To prepare the basis for an informed choice between «EOp» concepts with respect to feasibility issues, a taxonomy of «EOp» interpretations is proposed that demonstrates their fundamental differences. Based on this taxonomy, major feasibility issues considered in the «EOp» literature are reviewed and assorted to classes of «EOp» concepts. Incorporating competing «EOp» concepts into a systematic comparison turns out to contribute to overcome feasibility issues within the overall justice ideal. This reasoning is finally applied to contexts of elementary and vocational education in order to illustrate the need for context-based choice of «EOp» concepts.

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