Ambiguities in Feldman's Desert-adjusted Values

Utilitas 9 (03):319- (1997)
Fred Feldman has argued that consequentialists can answer the well-known by replacing the utilitarian axiology with one that makes the value of receiving pleasures and pains depend on how deserved it is. It is shown that this proposal is open to three interpretations: (1) the Fit-idea, which operates with the degree of fit between what recipients get and what they deserve; (2) the Merit-idea, which operates with the magnitude of the recipients' desert or merit; and (3) the Fit-Merit idea which is a combination of (1) and (2). It is argued that none of these ideas will do, among other things because they fail to take into account the fact that justice involves inter-personal comparisons
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