Desert and Responsibility

Geoffrey Cupit

in Justice as Fittingness

Published in print January 1999 | ISBN: 9780198238621
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679698 | DOI:
Desert and Responsibility

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This chapter explores the relationship between desert and responsibility. It rejects the view that to be deserving one must be responsible for that which makes him/her deserving, and thus defends the claim that justice is to be understood as treating in accordance with desert. The chapter also refutes the desert-responsibility thesis, which claims that one can deserve only on the basis of that for which he/she is responsible. However, it is certainly true that many claims to deserve are undermined if there is a lack of responsibility. This chapter considers three accounts of the distinction between desert claims which do, and desert claims which do not, presuppose responsibility, endorsing an account which explains the distinction as arising from the mode of treatment supposed to be deserved. These accounts are the moral/non-moral desert distinction account, the attribute requirement account, and the mode of treatment account.

Keywords: desert; responsibility; justice; desert-responsibility thesis; desert distinction account; attribute requirement account; mode of treatment account

Chapter.  6713 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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