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Equal opportunity of life prospects and family autonomy are both valued principles. However, if they are held without compromise, they are incompatible. Thus, we must either reject equal opportunity of life prospects in favor of a weaker account of equal opportunity or abandon our commitments to family autonomy. In this paper, I contend that the choice is not as stark as it first appears. I argue for two key distinctions. First, I contend that there is a difference between family autonomy and family sanctity, the latter being consistent with a fairly robust equal opportunity. Secondly, I argue for a distinction between internal and external contingencies that demonstrates it is possible to separate the wealth of the family from the family proper. The two distinctions weaken the force of the incompatibility problem and help justify interference with the family for the sake of equal opportunity.


Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry

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Conference Paper

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