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The Philosophy of Equality

3. The Basis of Equality

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About this Lecture


In this module, Nik moves on from defining what we mean by equality to ask the question: what is the basis of equality? On what grounds, in other words, should all humans be considered equal? The question is more difficult than it first appears, and during the course of this module Nik introduces three answers, before looking at the problems associated with each.


At least since the French Revolution, equality has served as one of the leading ideals of the body politic, and today remains one of the key tenets in modern Western democracies. But is equality always a good thing? Is it fair? And to what extent should the State play a part in enforcing equality? In this course, we explore the philosophical concept of equality, demonstrating that ‘equality’ may not be as uncontroversial as it first appears.


Nikolas Kirby is Departmental Lecturer in Philosophy and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government and Retained Lecturer in Politics at Jesus College, University of Oxford.

He was educated at the University of Sydney (BA (Hons), LLB (Hons)) and the University of Oxford (BPhil).

He has worked in law, academia and politics in Australia. He is a co-founder and chair of the Good Lad Workshop, a social enterprise that engages boys and men in discussions about masculinity, sexism and lad culture. He plays Australian Rules Football for the University of Oxford during the winter, and village cricket in the summer.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Kirby, N. (2018, August 15). The Philosophy of Equality - The Basis of Equality [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Kirby, N. "The Philosophy of Equality – The Basis of Equality." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,