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  1. added 2020-03-25
    Book Review: Retributivism Has a Past: Has It a Future?, Edited by Michael Tonry. [REVIEW]Stephen Kershnar - 2015 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 12 (1):112-115.
    Retributivism is the notion that punishment is justified because, and only because, the wrongdoer deserves it. Proportionality is central to retributivism. A proportional punishment is one in which the severity of a punishment is proportional to the seriousness of the offense (for example, its wrongness or harmfulness). Michael Tonry’s collection is must reading for punishments theorists. The articles are well-chosen and the reflections of theorists such as Andreas von Hirsch, R. A. Duff, and Douglas Husak who have shaped punishment theory (...)
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  2. added 2020-03-25
    George Sher’s Theory of Deserved Punishment, and the Victimized Wrongdoer.Stephen Kershnar - 1997 - Social Theory and Practice 23 (1):75-91.
    George Sher's theory of deserved punishment is unable to account for cases in which wrongdoing does not result in unfair advantages. Sher attempts to connect punishment with distributive justice by suggesting that punishment is deserved inasmuch as the unfair advantage gained by wrongdoing is offset. According to Sher's diachronic theory of fairness, punishment is also deserved when it occurs in response to transgression of a first-order ethical norm. A problem for the theory concerns the justification it provides for disparate treatment (...)
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  3. added 2020-03-25
    The Basis Of Deserved Punishment Is A Culpable Wrongdoing.Stephen Kershnar - 1997 - Jahrbuch für Recht Und Ethik 5:497-516.
    The article claims that a person who deserves punishment deserves it because, and only because, she has performed a culpable wrongdoing . The article thus rejects the theory that the basis of deserved punishment is a bad moral character. The argument rejecting The Character Theory of Deserved Punishment is divided into two parts:1) that it is not necessarily the case that an intentional act reflects the agent's moral character, and2) that it is not necessarily the case that a culpable wrongdoing (...)
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  4. added 2020-03-24
    Desert and Virtue: A Theory of Intrinsic Value.Stephen Kershnar - 2009 - Lexington Books.
    Desert and Virtue: A Theory of Intrinsic Value presents a comprehensive examination of desert and what makes people deserve things. Stephen Kershnar demonstrates how desert relates to virtue, good deeds, moral responsibility, and personal change and growth through the life process. He persuasively argues that desert is a function that relates well-being, intrinsic value, and a "ground," which is defined as a person's character or act.
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  5. added 2020-03-24
    Explaining the Geometry of Desert.Neil Feit & Stephen Kershnar - 2004 - Public Affairs Quarterly 18:273.
    In the past decade, three philosophers in particular have recently explored the relation between desert and intrinsic value. Fred Feldman argues that consequentialism need not give much weight – or indeed any weight at all – to the happiness of persons who undeservedly experience pleasure. He defends the claim that the intrinsic value of a state of affairs is determined by the “fit” between the amount of well-being that a person receives and the amount of well-being that the person deserves. (...)
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  6. added 2020-03-24
    A Defense of Retributivism.Stephen Kershnar - 2000 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 14 (1):97-117.
    The moral theory justifying punishment will shape the debate over numerous controversial issues such as the moral permissibility of the death penalty, probation, parole, and plea bargaining, as well as issues about conditions in prison and access to educational opportunities in prison. In this essay I argue that the primary goal of the criminal justice system is to inflict suffering on, and only on, those who deserve it. If I am correct, the answer to issues involving the criminal justice system (...)
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  7. added 2020-03-24
    The Justification of Deserved Punishment Via General Moral Principles.Stephen Kershnar - 1995 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 33 (4):461-484.
    If the ground of punishment is a culpable wronging, what is it about a culpable wrongdoing that allows it to morally justify deserved punishment? In particular, we want to know what it is about a culpable wrongdoing that accounts for the intrinsic value of punitive desert or the punitive-desert-related duties that comprise retributivism. I analyze both together in the context of seeking a justification for The Principle of Deserved Punishment, (1). (1) The Principle of Deserved Punishment. A person deserves punishment (...)
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  8. added 2019-09-25
    Gratitude Toward Veterans: Why Americans Should Not Be Very Grateful to Veterans.Stephen Kershnar - 2014 - Lexington Books.
    Americans are very grateful to veterans. Veterans are celebrated via speeches, statues, memorials, holidays, and affirmative action. They are lavishly praised in public gatherings and private conversations. Contrary to this widespread attitude, I argue that U.S. citizens should not be very grateful to veterans. In evaluating whether the significant gratitude toward veterans is justified, I begin by exploring the nature of gratitude. On my account, one person should be very grateful to a second person just in case the second person (...)
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  9. added 2019-09-25
    The Trilemma of Desert.Stephen Kershnar - 2006 - Public Affairs Quarterly 20 (3):219-233.
    There are three attractive principles that are held by many desert theorists. (1) Character-Desert Principle: A person’s character is a ground of moral desert. (2) Limited Responsibility for Character Principle: Persons are not fully morally responsible for their character. (3) Moral Responsibility Principle: If something grounds moral desert in a person, then she is fully morally responsible for it. Each of these principles is backed by some strong intuitions or arguments. In this paper, I argue that we should reject the (...)
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  10. added 2019-09-25
    George Sher’s Theory of Deserved Punishment, and the Victimized Wrongdoer.Stephen Kershnar - 1997 - Social Theory and Practice 23 (1):75-91.
    George Sher's theory of deserved punishment is unable to account for cases in which wrongdoing does not result in unfair advantages. Sher attempts to connect punishment with distributive justice by suggesting that punishment is deserved inasmuch as the unfair advantage gained by wrongdoing is offset. According to Sher's diachronic theory of fairness, punishment is also deserved when it occurs in response to transgression of a first-order ethical norm. A problem for the theory concerns the justification it provides for disparate treatment (...)
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  11. added 2019-09-04
    How to Reconcile Liberal Politics with Retributive Punishment.Thaddeus Metz - 2007 - Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 27 (4):683-705.
    There is a deep tension between liberalism and retributivism. On the face of it, one cannot coherently believe liberalism about the fundamental purpose of the state and retributivism about the basic end of legal punishment, given widely held and well-motivated or what I call ‘standard’ conceptions of these views. My aims in this article are to differentiate the types of conflict between liberalism and retributivism, to identify the strongest and most problematic type of conflict between them, to demonstrate that existing (...)
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  12. added 2019-06-06
    Utilitarianism, Hedonism, and Desert: Essays in Moral Philosophy. [REVIEW]Henry R. West - 2003 - International Studies in Philosophy 35 (4):244-245.
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  13. added 2019-06-06
    Shaping the Arrow of the Will: Skorupski on Moral Feeling and Rationality: Theo Van Willigenburg.Theo Van Willigenburg - 2003 - Utilitas 15 (3):353-368.
    I oppose the way John Skorupski characterizes morality in terms of the blameworthy and the role he consequently assigns to punitive feelings in directing one's will and shaping one's character. Skorupski does not hold that the punishment involved in blame- and guilt-feelings grounds the normativity of moral obligation. He defends a specific view of moral psychology and moral practice in which the blame-feeling disposes to the withdrawal of recognition, which involves some sort of casting the transgressor out of the community (...)
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  14. added 2019-06-06
    Unmasking Equality? Kagan on Equality and Desert: Serena Olsaretti.Serena Olsaretti - 2002 - Utilitas 14 (3):387-400.
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  15. added 2019-06-06
    Utilitarianism, Hedonism, and Desert: Essays in Moral Philosophy. [REVIEW]Robert L. Frazier - 2000 - Dialogue 39 (3):626-627.
    Our most basic moral intuition, according to Feldman, is simply stated: we ought to do the best we can. And, according to him, it is this intuition that underlies the utilitarian doctrine. However, Feldman thinks it is no easy task to develop a theory that adequately expresses this intuition. Indeed, he thinks that many philosophers “have vigorously defended ‘utilitarianism’ without succeeding in formulating the doctrine precisely”. He describes debating the merits of utilitarianism before it is adequately formulated as “Rambo philosophy”, (...)
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  16. added 2019-06-06
    Deserved Punishment and Benefits to Victims: C. L. Ten.C. L. Ten - 2000 - Utilitas 12 (1):85-90.
    Sher's notion of deserved punishment has unacceptable implications. It does not justify punishing some serious wrongdoers, who are unwilling to commit lesser wrongs, more severely than minor offenders. It requires victim-inflicted punishments which repeat the wrongdoings, with the roles reversed. But if Sher moves away from such victim-inflicted punishments, then his theory should treat wrongdoers like tort-feasors who have to pay monetary compensations to their victims.
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  17. added 2019-06-06
    Ressentiment, Revenge, and Punishment: Origins of the Nietzschean Critique: Robin Small.Robin Small - 1997 - Utilitas 9 (1):39-58.
    Nietzsche's thinking on justice and punishment explores the motives and forces which lie behind moral concepts and social institutions. His dialogue with several writers of his time is discussed here. Eugen Dühring had argued that a natural feeling of ressentiment against those who have harmed us is the source of the concept of injustice, so that punishment, even in its most impersonal form, is always a form of revenge. In attacking this theory, Nietzsche developed his own powerful critique of moral (...)
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  18. added 2019-06-06
    Devlin, Hart, and the Proper Limits of Legal Coercion*: Mark S. Nattrass.Mark S. Nattrass - 1993 - Utilitas 5 (1):91-107.
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  19. added 2019-06-06
    Foucault and Bentham: A Defence of Panopticism: Janet Semple.Janet Semple - 1992 - Utilitas 4 (1):105-120.
  20. added 2019-02-12
    Against the Character Solution to the Problem of Moral Luck.Robert J. Hartman - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (1):105-118.
    One way to frame the problem of moral luck is as a contradiction in our ordinary ideas about moral responsibility. In the case of two identical reckless drivers where one kills a pedestrian and the other does not, we tend to intuit that they are and are not equally blameworthy. The Character Response sorts these intuitions in part by providing an account of moral responsibility: the drivers must be equally blameworthy, because they have identical character traits and people are originally (...)
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  21. added 2019-02-07
    Shame and Attributability.Andreas Brekke Carlsson - forthcoming - In David Shoemaker (ed.), Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility, vol. 6.
    Responsibility as accountability is normally taken to have stricter control conditions than responsibility as attributability. A common way to argue for this claim is to point to differences in the harmfulness of blame involved in these different kinds of responsibility. This paper argues that this explanation does not work once we shift our focus from other-directed blame to self-blame. To blame oneself in the accountability sense is to feel guilt and feeling guilty is to suffer. To blame oneself in the (...)
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  22. added 2018-09-16
    Review of Michael McKenna, Conversation and Responsibility. [REVIEW]Paul Russell - 2017 - Philosophical Review 126 (2):285-95.
    Michael McKenna’s Conversation and Responsibility is an ambitious and impressive statement of a new theory of moral responsibility. McKenna’s approach builds upon the strategy advanced in P.F. Strawson’s enormously influential “Freedom and Resentment” (which was published in 1962). The account advanced aims to provide Strawson’s theory with the sort of detail that is required to fill significant gaps and respond to a wide range of criticisms and objections that have been directed against it. ....Conversation and Responsibility belongs on the top (...)
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  23. added 2018-08-02
    Kant's Conception of Merit.Robert N. Johnson - 1996 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 77:310.
    It is standard to attribute to Kant the view that actions from motives other than duty deserve no positive moral evaluation. I argue that the standard view is mistaken. Kant's account of merit in the Metaphysics of Morals shows that he believes actions not performed from duty can be meritorious. Moreover, the grounds for attributing merit to an action are different from those for attributing moral worth to it. This is significant because it shows both that his views are reasonably (...)
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  24. added 2018-06-07
    Prioritarianism: Room for Desert?Matthew D. Adler - 2018 - Utilitas 30 (2):172-197.
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  25. added 2018-06-07
    Improving Our Practice of Sentencing: Brenda M. Baker.Brenda M. Baker - 1997 - Utilitas 9 (1):99-114.
    Restorative justice should have greater weight as a criterion in criminal justice sentencing practice. It permits a realistic recognition of the kinds of harm and damage caused by offences, and encourages individualized non-custodial sentencing options as ways of addressing these harms. Non-custodial sentences have proven more effective than incarceration in securing social reconciliation and preventing recidivism, and they avoid the serious social and personal costs of imprisonment. This paper argues in support of restorative justice as a guiding idea in sentencing. (...)
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  26. added 2018-06-05
    Blame, Forgiveness, and Honor in Aristotle and Beyond.Carissa Phillips-Garrett - 2017 - Dissertation, Rice University
    Many contemporary discussions of forgiveness assume forgiveness is fundamentally admirable. Examining Aristotle’s account, however, demonstrates that there is a tension between desert and forgiveness that is often overlooked in contemporary discussions. Through examining the neglected concept of sungnōmē, which forestalls blame, I conclude that Aristotelian blame is justified only on grounds of fairness. This conclusion is evidence that Aristotelian blame is not merely an instrumental or descriptive tool, but rather a way of holding agents morally accountable. Through examining the emphasis (...)
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  27. added 2018-04-29
    Hitting Retributivism Where It Hurts.Nathan Hanna - 2019 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 13 (1):109-127.
    Many philosophers think that, when someone deserves something, it’s intrinsically good that she get it or there’s a non-instrumental reason to give it to her. Retributivists who try to justify punishment by appealing to claims about what people deserve typically assume this view or views that entail it. In this paper, I present evidence that many people have intuitions that are inconsistent with this view. And I argue that this poses a serious challenge to retributivist arguments that appeal to desert.
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  28. added 2018-03-21
    Free Will Skepticism and Personhood as a Desert Base.Benjamin Vilhauer - 2009 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39 (3):489-511.
    In contemporary free will theory, a significant number of philosophers are once again taking seriously the possibility that human beings do not have free will, and are therefore not morally responsible for their actions. (Free will is understood here as whatever satisfies the control condition of moral responsibility.) Free will theorists commonly assume that giving up the belief that human beings are morally responsible implies giving up all our beliefs about desert. But the consequences of giving up the belief that (...)
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  29. added 2018-02-23
    Aquinas and Gregory the Great on the Puzzle of Petitionary Prayer.Scott Hill - 2018 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5.
    I defend a solution to the puzzle of petitionary prayer based on some ideas of Aquinas, Gregory the Great, and contemporary desert theorists. I then address a series of objections. Along the way broader issues about the nature of desert, what is required for an action to have a point, and what is required for a puzzle to have a solution are discussed.
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  30. added 2018-02-17
    Moral Projection and the Intelligibility of Collective Forgiveness.Harry Bunting - 2009 - Yearbook of the Irish Philosophical Society 7:107 - 120.
    ABSTRACT. The paper explores the philosophical intelligibility of contemporary defences of collective political forgiveness against a background of sceptical doubt, both general and particular. Three genera sceptical arguments are examined: one challenges the idea that political collectives exist; another challenges the idea that moral agency can be projected upon political collectives; a final argument challenges the attribution of emotions, especially anger, to collectives. Each of these sceptical arguments is rebutted. At a more particular level, the contrasts between individual forgiveness and (...)
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  31. added 2017-06-18
    Kant's Mature Theory of Punishment, and a First Critique Ideal Abolitionist Alternative.Benjamin Vilhauer - forthcoming - In Matthew Altman (ed.), Palgrave Kant Handbook.
    This chapter has two goals. First, I will present an interpretation of Kant’s mature account of punishment, which includes a strong commitment to retributivism. Second, I will sketch a non-retributive, “ideal abolitionist” alternative, which appeals to a version of original position deliberation in which we choose the principles of punishment on the assumption that we are as likely to end up among the punished as we are to end up among those protected by the institution of punishment. This is radical (...)
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  32. added 2017-01-17
    Punishment, Forgiveness and Reconciliation.Bill Wringe - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (4):1099-1124.
    It is sometimes thought that the normative justification for responding to large-scale violations of human rights via the judicial appararatus of trial and punishment is undermined by the desirability of reconciliation between conflicting parties as part of the process of conflict resolution. I take there to be philosophical, as well as practical and psychological issues involved here: on some conceptions of punishment and reconciliation, the attitudes that they involve conflict with one another on rational grounds. But I shall argue that (...)
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  33. added 2016-12-20
    Blameworthiness as Deserved Guilt.Andreas Carlsson - 2017 - The Journal of Ethics 21 (1):89-115.
    It is often assumed that we are only blameworthy for that over which we have control. In recent years, however, several philosophers have argued that we can be blameworthy for occurrences that appear to be outside our control, such as attitudes, beliefs and omissions. This has prompted the question of why control should be a condition on blameworthiness. This paper aims at defending the control condition by developing a new conception of blameworthiness: To be blameworthy, I argue, is most fundamentally (...)
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  34. added 2016-12-08
    Institutions and the Normativity of Desert.Sorin Baiasu - 2007 - Contemporary Political Theory 6 (2):175-195.
    The question of whether desert depends on institutions or institutions on desert continues to divide politicians and political theorists, particularly in disputes over the justification of the welfare state. Even though it is a significant question with direct relevance for issues of economic justice, little has been done so far to evaluate the various positions in dispute and to make explicit the concepts involved. In this paper, I first present the main senses in which the concepts of desert, dependence and (...)
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  35. added 2016-12-08
    How to Deserve.David Schmidtz - 2002 - Political Theory 30 (6):774-799.
    People ought to get what they deserve. And what we deserve can depend on effort, performance, or on excelling in competition, even when excellence is partly a function of our natural gifts. Or so most people believe. Philosophers sometimes say otherwise. At least since Karl Marx complained about capitalist society extracting surplus value from workers, thereby failing to give workers what they deserve, classical liberal philosophers have worried that to treat justice as a matter of what people deserve is to (...)
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  36. added 2016-12-08
    Responsibility as a Condition for Desert.F. Feldman - 1996 - Mind 105 (417):165 - 168.
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  37. added 2016-04-15
    The Evolution of Retribution: Intuitions Undermined.Isaac Wiegman - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (2):490-510.
    Recent empirical work suggests that emotions are responsible for anti-consequentialist intuitions. For instance, anger places value on actions of revenge and retribution, value not derived from the consequences of these actions. As a result, it contributes to the development of retributive intuitions. I argue that if anger evolved to produce these retributive intuitions because of their biological consequences, then these intuitions are not a good indicator that punishment has value apart from its consequences. This severs the evidential connection between retributive (...)
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  38. added 2016-03-19
    Desert, Responsibility, and Justification: A Reply to Doris, McGeer, and Robinson.Manuel R. Vargas - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (10):2659-2678.
    Building Better Beings: A Theory of Moral Responsibility argues that the normative basis of moral responsibility is anchored in the effects of responsibility practices. Further, the capacities required for moral responsibility are socially scaffolded. This article considers criticisms of this account that have been recently raised by John Doris, Victoria McGeer, and Michael Robinson. Robinson argues against Building Better Beings’s rejection of libertarianism about free will, and the account of desert at stake in the theory. considers methodological questions that arise (...)
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  39. added 2016-03-19
    Revisionism About Free Will: A Statement & Defense.Manuel Vargas - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 144 (1):45-62.
    This article summarizes the moderate revisionist position I put forth in Four Views on Free Will and responds to objections to it from Robert Kane, John Martin Fischer, Derk Pereboom, and Michael McKenna. Among the principle topics of the article are (1) motivations for revisionism, what it is, and how it is different from compatibilism and hard incompatibilism, (2) an objection to the distinctiveness of semicompatibilism against conventional forms of compatibilism, and (3) whether moderate revisionism is committed to realism about (...)
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  40. added 2016-02-26
    Desert of What? On Murphy’s Reluctant Retributivism.Linda Radzik - 2017 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 11 (1):161-173.
    In Punishment and the Moral Emotions, Jeffrie Murphy rejects his earlier, strong endorsements of retributivism. Questioning both our motivations for embracing retributivism and our views about the basis of desert, he now describes himself as a “reluctant retributivist.” In this essay, I argue that Murphy should reject retributivism altogether. Even if we grant that criminals have negative desert, why should we suppose that it is desert of suffering? I argue that it is possible to defend desert-based theories of punishment that (...)
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  41. added 2015-09-27
    Book Review: The Unnatural Lottery. [REVIEW]Brian Rosebury - 1998 - Philosophical Review 107 (2):291-293.
    Claudia Card’s The Unnatural Lottery is a fluently written and intricately argued study of the importance of historical difference for moral thought and action. It moves from theoretical and methodological arguments, in which the philosophical interest of the work largely resides, into a series of applications, mainly in the field of sexual politics, which are always at least thought-provoking.
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  42. added 2015-09-17
    There’s No Need to Rethink Desert: A Reply to Pummer.Benjamin Curtis - 2015 - Philosophia 43 (4):999-1010.
    Pummer : 43–77, 2014) ingeniously wraps together issues from the personal identity literature with issues from the literature on desert. However, I wish to take issue with the main conclusion that he draws, namely, that we need to rethink the following principle: Desert.: When people culpably do very wrong or bad acts, they deserve punishment in the following sense: at least other things being equal they ought to be made worse off, simply in virtue of the fact that they culpably (...)
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  43. added 2015-07-09
    Responsibility and Justice. [REVIEW]Justin Tosi - 2009 - Journal of Politics 71 (4):1600-1602.
  44. added 2015-04-22
    Punishment and Discretion in Mill's Utilitarianism.Piers Norris Turner - 2015 - Utilitas 27 (2):165-178.
    I argue that a notorious passage from Utilitarianism concerning the relationship between morality and blameworthiness need not be an obstacle to a consistent act-utilitarian interpretation of Mill's moral theory. First, the Art of Life provides a framework for reconciling Mill's evaluation of conduct in terms of both expediency and blameworthiness. Like contemporary sophisticated act-utilitarians, Mill treats expediency as the more fundamental category of evaluation. Second, textual evidence suggests that, on Mill's view, evaluations of blameworthiness are not strictly bound by rules, (...)
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  45. added 2015-04-22
    Worthy Actions.Steven G. Smith - 2001 - The Journal of Ethics 5 (4):315-333.
    Concrete worthy actions have not been aterminus of discernment for moral theory in theway that they often are for the deliberatingmoral agent. Some ordinary hallmarks of worthyactions challenge the unworldly and impersonalways of envisioning life that dominatephilosophical ethics. I discuss six: a worthyaction (1) improves the world in moralperspective, (2) discloses the agent''s power,(3) is personally rewarding, (4) unites virtue,justice, and happiness, (5) is a prime objectof moral choice, and (6) belongs to a practicalgenre (such as work or love). Appreciatingworthy (...)
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  46. added 2015-04-05
    Moral Desert and the Self.Douglas Gordon Howie - 1998 - Dissertation, University of California, Santa Barbara
    Philosophical determinism seems to undercut any possibility of our ever deserving anything, because everything about us is caused and thus outside the range of our responsibility. We do not deserve the rewards of our successes because those successes come directly from our abilities and character. To deserve our rewards we would have to deserve our abilities and character. Since we don't deserve these things, neither do we deserve our rewards. To avoid this outcome, and preserve some sense of moral desert, (...)
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  47. added 2015-04-05
    An Oasis in an Arid Desert. [REVIEW]Scott Richert - 1994 - Humanitas 7 (1):83-88.
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  48. added 2015-04-04
    Verse: Mysterious Desert.Foster Jewell - 1966 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 47 (3):349.
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  49. added 2015-04-04
    The So-Called Fertile Crescent and Desert Bay.Albert T. Clay - 1924 - Journal of the American Oriental Society 44:186-201.
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  50. added 2015-03-25
    Badain Jaran: The Forgotten Desert.Carlos Crespo - 2013 - Scheidegger & Spiess.
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