Arguing Affirmative Action: Lesson 2

Affirmative Action for Whites?

?Recently, was there a quota system that favored whites in the name of diversity?|yes

?What was it?|an apartment complex in Brooklyn

?”If you accept the diversity rationale for affirmative action,” then you must accept the diversity rationale for an apartment complex that seeks an integrated community. True or False?|True

?“If diversity serves the common good, and if no one is discriminated against based on hatred or contempt, then racial preferences do not violate anyone’s rights” (178). Is this right?|yes

?Why isn’t this unjust?|”Because, following Rawl’s point about moral desert, no one deserves to be considered for an apartment or seat in the freshman class according to his or her merits, independently defined” (178).

?What counts as a merit according to Rawls?|a merit is “determined only once the housing authority or the college officials define their mission”(178).

Can Justice be Detached from Moral Desert

?Why is the renunciation of moral desert morally attractive?|”It undermines the smug assumption…that success is the crown of virtue, that the rich are rich because they are more deserving than the poor” (178).

“And yet it may not be possible, politically or philosophically, to detach arguments about justice from debates about desert as decisively as Rawls and Dworkin suggest (179).

Sandel offers two reasons why detaching justice from moral desert can be problematic.

?What is the first reason?|”Justice often has an honorific aspect”(179).

?”Debates about ______ justice are about not only who gets what but also what qualities are worthy of ________ and ________ “ (179).|distributive, honor, reward

?What is the second reason?|”the idea that merit arises only once social institutions define their mission is subject to a complication” (179).

?What is the complication?|social institutions can’t define their mission any way they please

“These institutions are defined, at least in part, by the distinctive goods they promote” (179).

?”Certain goods are appropriate to certain social institutions, and to ignore these goods in allocating roles can be a kind of ___________|corruption

?”Why do colleges continue to send (and applicants to expect) letters replete with congratulatory, honorific rhetoric?|because colleges can’t entirely dispense with the idea that their role is not only to advance certain ends but also to honor and reward certain virtues”(181).

Why not Auction College Admission?

?True or False. To auction a seat in college admissions would be fair if merit “simply means the ability to contribute, in one way or another, to the mission of the university” (182).|True

?What is a legacy preference?|affirmative action for children of alumni

?What are development admits?|applicants who are not children of alumni but who have wealthy parents able to make a sizeable financial contribution

?Using Dworkin’s reply to Hopwood, would he have to allow applicants, applicants who score lower than others, from wealthy royal Arab families who pledge millions for new libraries|yes

?”All fairness requires is that no one be _________ out of ________ or _________, and that applicants be judged by criteria related to the ________ the university sets for itself” (182).|rejected, contempt, prejudice, mission

“The students who lose out aren’t the victims of prejudice; it’s just their bad luck to lack parents willing and able to donate a new library” (182).

?What kind of admit is this? ”Applicants who are not children of alumni but who have wealthy parents able to make a sizeable financial contribution to the school” (181).|development admit

?Does Sandel think that this expansive standard of merit is weak?|yes

?Is the injustice in seat selling due to the fact that poor/middle class students are at a disadvantage beyond their control?|no

?Why?|”many factors beyond our control are legitimate factors in admission” (182).

?What is more troubling in auctioning seats, opportunity of applicants or the integrity of the university?|integrity of the university

“The affirmative action debate reflects competing notions of what colleges are for: To what extent should they pursue scholarly excellence, to what extent civic goods, and how should these purposes be balanced?” (182).

?The tension is between what two notions?|scholarly excellence and civic goods

?”Selling education as if it were merely a consumer good is a kind of ____________” (183).|corruption

?Again, what two goods of a university is the “primary reason for being”?|scholarly and civic goods

?Because civic and scholarly goods is the “primary reason for being” of a university, selling seats for admission would violate a university’s telos. Is this true?|yes

?Is it easy to separate justice and rights from honor and virtue?|no

“Tying debates about justice to arguments about honor, virtue, and the meaning of goods may seem a recipe for hopeless disagreement…So it is tempting to seek a basis for justice and rights that keeps its distance from those controversies” (183).

?”People hold __________ conceptions of honor and virtue” (183).|different

?”The philosophies of ______ and ______ are bold attempts to find a basis for justice and rights that is neutral with respect to competing visions of the good life”(183).|Kant, Rawls


?Affirmative action is ultimately a question of what the purpose of a university is. The telos of a university isn’t agreed upon by many. What are the two main types of telos of a university?|promoting scholarly excellence and civic purposes

?Correcting for the test gap isn’t really an argument for affirmative action, but a _______|method in finding academic promise in each individual