HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy
Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights, Global Affairs and Philosophy


Much current thinking about justice concerns the place of responsibility within an overall account of justice. Theorists of justice such as John Rawls have been criticized for their inability to make their conclusions accord with our intuitions about responsibility. This paper argues that such criticisms are mistaken. To establish this argument, the paper introduces a distinction between indirect and direct accounts of distributive justice. Direct theories are characterized by a moralized account of the good to be distributed; indirect theories, in contrast, employ an account of the good that is morally relevant only in specific context, and then only subject to further argumentation. This distinction is employed to counter criticisms of Rawls given by John Roemer and Richard Arneson.


Blake, Michael, and Mathias Risse. "Two Models of Equality and Responsibility." KSG Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP04-032, August 2004.