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OverviewAncient Views Of Equality, Equality In The Church And The Protestant Reformation, Liberalism, Civic Republicanism, And The Age Of Revolution

Though simple as a mathematical concept, equality is complex and contested as a political goal and philosophical concept. Many political struggles, both historical and ongoing, have engaged in the contests over the nature of equality. This contestation revolves around the basic question, What kinds of equality matter? The answer to this in part depends on whether the topic is approached from a predominantly political, economic, ethical/philosophical, or social perspective. Discussing the history of ideas on the concept of equality poses two further challenges. First, equality is so intimately related to the concept of justice that it is impossible to fully untangle the two. Second, there are so many voices and movements to consider on the subject that any concise discussion requires difficult choices on who to include and who to neglect. This overview thus will (1) touch on many (but not all) the important thinkers and developments in the history of ideas in the Western tradition, and (2) introduce some of the major debates and conflicts in that tradition over the concept of equality.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Ephemeris to Evolution - Historical Background