Is Sufficientarianism Sufficient? Prospects for the Sufficiency Threshold




Hiebert, Melissa

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The central doctrine of sufficientarianism is that there is a certain threshold below which people are said to be objectively "badly-off," and that providing benefits to people who fall into this category has a special moral urgency. A big part of sufficientarianism's success as a theory, then, relies on the ability to define the threshold in a manner that is non-arbitrary and that justifies a large difference in moral consideration between people who are on opposite sides of the threshold. This thesis examines some attempts to define such a threshold, and eventually concludes that no such threshold is available to us. However, while sufficientarianism may not work as a theory, sufficiency thresholds remain useful due to their practical ability to give useful instruction to policy makers in order to assist in resource distribution and the promotion of social justice.



Sufficientarianism, Moral Philosophy, Distributive Justice, Global Ethics