Colin Hickey

Published On


Page Range

pp. 219–246


  • English

Print Length

28 pages

9. Sufficiency, Limits, and Multi-Threshold Views

In this chapter, I intervene on a set of debates in the distributive justice literature to assess the relation between sufficientarianism and limitarianism. In particular, I investigate whether sufficientarians should (or even must) also endorse a limitarian thesis, and similarly whether limitarians should (or even must) also endorse a sufficiency thesis. I argue affirmatively that sufficientarians have very good reasons to also adopt a limitarian thesis, as do limitarians to adopt a sufficientarian thesis. While I entertain some speculative arguments about a necessary conceptual connection between the views, the results are more tentative. So, while it is likely, in principle, possible to affirm one view without the other, doing so is hard to motivate and not advisable. I end the chapter suggesting some reasons why it should actually be less surprising than we might think that our most plausible theories of distributive justice would turn out to be “multi-threshold” views of a certain structure, containing (at least) one sufficientarian threshold and one limitarian threshold.


Colin Hickey

Assistant Professor in the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics at University of Amsterdam

Colin Hickey is an Assistant Professor at the University of Amsterdam, in the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics. Previously, he was a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University in the University Center for Human Values and the High Meadows Environmental Institute, and before that he was a postdoctoral researcher at Utrecht University with the Fair Limits Project. He received his PhD in philosophy from Georgetown University. His work focuses on moral and political philosophy, especially issues of climate justice and responsibility.