13th Pavia Graduate Conference in Political Philosophy – Abstract/Li

Man Kong Li

From Equal Moral Standing to Equal Vote: A Defence

It is a rather commonplace in contemporary political philosophy that people’s equal moral standing or equal moral personality grounds their entitlements to equal citizenship. But many philosophers deny that equal moral standing has anything to do with our right to have equal vote in a democratic polity. That is, although they agree that people’s equal moral standing should ground their equal citizenship, it does not provide any moral grounds for granting equal votes to citizens. Many of them justify equal vote on other grounds, others even go as far as to propose a plural voting scheme, and argue that it is consistent with people’s equal moral standing. In this paper, I will defend the idea that equal moral standing indeed provides moral grounds to equal vote, by refuting several representative challenges to it. By refuting Ronald Dworkin’s and David Estlund’s challenges, I will argue that no theories of egalitarian distributive justice can consistently both endorse equal vote and insist moral equality implies exclusively to distributive equality but have nothing to do with equal vote. Then, by refuting Steven Wall’s egalitarian arguments for a plural voting system, I will further show that people indeed have important interest to be equal authors of a democratic polity, and it is constitutive to our understanding of equal citizenship. I will then conclude that equal moral standing indeed provides important moral grounds to regulate the voting system.