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The Philosophy of Equality

2. The Meaning of Equality

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About this Lecture


In this module, Nik concentrates on the question, 'What is the meaning of equality?'. In other words, when we say that two or more things are 'equal', what does that actually mean? After introducing the concept of equality (as opposed to identity), Nik presents two the most common conceptions of what 'equality' means: basic equality of value and basic equality of authority.


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 Meaning of Equality [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

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