Unconditional Equals

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2022.11.09 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews

Anne Phillips, Unconditional Equals, Princeton University Press, 2021, 141pp., $22.95 (pbk), ISBN9780691226163.

Reviewed by David Livingstone Smith, University of New England

This slender volume, only one hundred twelve pages long, excluding notes and an index, packs a powerful philosophical punch. Conceptually rich and compulsively readable, Unconditional Equals is the most recent iteration of Anne Phillips’ interrogation of the concept of human equality involving both a reprise and reconfiguration of themes from her previous work and a branching out into novel argumentative arenas. It is both a refreshing work of political philosophy and an intellectual memoir describing Phillips’ philosophical trajectory, and contains scrupulously charitable engagements with other equality theorists (for example, Jeremy Waldron and Hannah Arendt), with whom she agrees on some points and disagrees on others.

Unconditional Equality presents the case for making equality central to political activity. This requires a conception…

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