Can desert be the foundation of justice? Recent attempts to redefine distributive justice in the light of the notions of desert and merit depend largely upon how much independent moral force can be attributed to these notions. This is why a number of theorists, following in Joel Feinberg’s wake, assume desert to be a natural feature (of an action, or a person, or a performance), independently of the institutions that may reward it, and of the socio-political background against which it stands out. This article criticizes such a view, trying to establish that desert cannot exist but ‘in the eyes’ of some person or group who already possesses some system of values. Thus, the concept lacks the moral force for defining the rightness of a society. In the last section, David Miller’s thesis that there is one specific, right pattern for rewarding desert will be examined.

Desert as a principle of distributive justice: A reconsideration

BRIGATI, ROBERTO
2014

Abstract

Can desert be the foundation of justice? Recent attempts to redefine distributive justice in the light of the notions of desert and merit depend largely upon how much independent moral force can be attributed to these notions. This is why a number of theorists, following in Joel Feinberg’s wake, assume desert to be a natural feature (of an action, or a person, or a performance), independently of the institutions that may reward it, and of the socio-political background against which it stands out. This article criticizes such a view, trying to establish that desert cannot exist but ‘in the eyes’ of some person or group who already possesses some system of values. Thus, the concept lacks the moral force for defining the rightness of a society. In the last section, David Miller’s thesis that there is one specific, right pattern for rewarding desert will be examined.
PHILOSOPHY & SOCIAL CRITICISM
Roberto Brigati
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/328713
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