Desert, Bell Motion, and Fairness

Criminal Law and Philosophy 10 (3):639-655 (2016)

In this critical review, I address two themes from Shelly Kagan’s path-breaking The Geometry of Desert. First I explain the so-called “bell motion” of desert mountains—a notion reflecting that, ceteris paribus, as people get more virtuous it becomes more important not to give them too little of whatever they deserve than not to give them too much. Having argued that Kagan’s defense of it is unsatisfactory, I offer two objections to the existence of the bell motion. Second, I take up an unrelated issue—the relation between comparative and non-comparative desert. I argue that, given a certain disaggregationist view of comparative desert, it is possible that comparative desert is not satisfied, even if non-comparative desert is perfectly so. Unlike my objections to the bell motion, this possibility adds further complexity to an already complex Kaganian account of desert.
Keywords Bell motion  Complaints  Desert  Fairness  Shelly Kagan
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DOI 10.1007/s11572-014-9338-x
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References found in this work BETA

Sovereign Virtue: The Theory and Practice of Equality.R. M. Dworkin - 2002 - Philosophical Quarterly 52 (208):377-389.
Equality as a Moral Ideal.Harry Frankfurt - 1987 - Ethics 98 (1):21-43.
The Geometry of Desert.Shelly Kagan - 2005 - Oxford University Press.
Adjusting Utility for Justice: A Consequentialist Reply to the Objection From Justice.Fred Feldman - 1995 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 55 (3):567-585.

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Citations of this work BETA

Thinking by Drawing.Shelly Kagan - 2018 - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 11 (2):245-283.

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