James Griffin

in Well-Being

Published in print December 1988 | ISBN: 9780198248439
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597558 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks


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Many moral views give no deep place to desert: utilitarianism, Kant, Rawls’ contractualism. Is desert a moral reason for action? Is merit? The chapter argues that, although merit can be a reason to praise or thank or honour a person, and to fail to one or other of these things may be wrong, it is not a moral reason or a moral wrong. Demerit is different: though both reward and punishment are responses with standards of appropriateness, punishment is a response to something moral and gets its own moral status from that. It concurs with an account of the forms of punishment that are morally justified.

Keywords: action; desert; merit; moral justification; moral reason; punishment; reward

Chapter.  12206 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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