Smilansky, Arneson, and the asymmetry of desert

Philosophical Studies 162 (3):537-545 (2013)

Authors
Jeffrey Moriarty
Bentley University
Abstract
Desert plays an important role in most contemporary theories of retributive justice, but an unimportant role in most contemporary theories of distributive justice. Saul Smilansky has recently put forward a defense of this asymmetry. In this study, I argue that it fails. Then, drawing on an argument of Richard Arneson’s, I suggest an alternative consequentialist rationale for the asymmetry. But while this shows that desert cannot be expected to play the same role in distributive justice that it can play in retributive justice, it does not fully vindicate the asymmetry, since desert can still play an important role in the former
Keywords Asymmetry  Desert  Distributive justice  Retributive justice
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9780-8
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Principles of Social Justice.David Miller - 2002 - Political Theory 30 (5):754-759.
Inequality.Larry S. Temkin - 1986 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 15 (2):99-121.

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