The Basic Minimum

The Basic Minimum : A Welfarist Approach

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A common presupposition in contemporary moral and political philosophy is that individuals should be provided with some basic threshold of goods, capabilities, or well-being. But if there is such a basic minimum, how should this be understood? Dale Dorsey offers an underexplored answer: that the basic minimum should be characterized not as the achievement of a set of capabilities, or as access to some specified bundle of resources, but as the maintenance of a minimal threshold of human welfare. In addition, Dorsey argues that though political institutions should be committed to the promotion of this minimal threshold, we should reject approaches that seek to cast the basic minimum as a human right. His book will be important for all who are interested in theories of political morality.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text | 240 pages
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1139227890
  • 9781139227896

Table of contents

Preface; Introduction and limits; 1. On the concept (and some conceptions) of the basic minimum; 2. A welfarist basic minimum; 3. Adaptive preferences; 4. The intrinsic value of the basic minimum; 5. Against rights; 6. On objections to welfarism; Bibliography.
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Review quote

"...Dorsey's work is important because it tries to give form to some of our most basic moral intuitions. His arguments offer excellent starting points for further discussion.... Dorsey should be commended for wading into difficult and complex philosophical territory..."
--Krista Thomason, Swarthmore College, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
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About Dale Dorsey

Dale Dorsey is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Kansas.
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