Questions for Dylan and Sam on the Admissions Lottery

It was interesting to see this argument for an admissions lottery advanced earnestly; I think I’ve seen a similar example somewhere advanced by critics of luck egalitarianism as a kind of reductio ad absurdum. (“Imagine what the admissions letter would say: Congratulations, you’ve won the lottery…?”) But that makes this project all the more useful to Dylan’s cause, if he can show that it is not so absurd after all.
I don’t intend a comprehensive response, but I am curious about a few points:
On Dylan’s view, which I take to be an accurate representation of luck egalitarianism, would the system described still be the preferred admissions system if it made the worst off worse off? If Dylan’s system makes everyone worse off, in fact, under what conditions (if any) would it still be morally preferable to the current system (or a Rawlsian spin on the current system, as Sam seems to advocate)?
Another question:
Since Dylan seems concerned with multiple inequalities, and not just inequalities of talent or income, how comprehensive would the system be in trying to compensate for other inequalities? This is a kind of “where to draw the line” question which comes up in a lot of critiques of luck egalitarianism, I suppose, but I think there’s something to it. Would Dylan’s system try to compensate for, say, shortness, by admitting more short people to top universities?
Finally: Does Dylan’s perspective take talents as givens, as if they are part of a static “distribution” of goods? If people don’t just “get” talents, but choose to develop them based on the opportunities that are open to them, does that change anything about the argument? At minimum it would seem that these new rules of the game would discourage students from developing their diverse talents and encourage them to put all of their efforts into learning SAT tricks and inflating their GPA. That hardly seems like a laudable goal for a college admissions system.

Leave a Comment

Solve : *
30 ⁄ 5 =