DistributiveJustice Theories of distributivejustice seek to specify what is meant by a just distribution of goods among members of society. All liberal theories (in the sense specified below) may be seen as expressions of laissez-faire with compensations for factors that they consider to be morally arbitrary. More specifically, such theories may be interpreted […].
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Global distributivejustice is now part of mainstream political debate. It incorporates issues that are now a familiar feature of the political landscape, such as global poverty, trade justice, aid to the developing world and debt cancellation. This is the first textbook to focus exclusively on issues of distributivejustice on the global scale. It gives clear and up-to-date accounts of the major theories of global justice and spells out their significance for a series (...) of important political issues, including climate change, international trade, human rights and migration. These issues are brought to life through the use of case studies, which emphasise the connection of theories of justice to contemporary politics, and 'Further Issues' sections, which discuss emerging debates or controversies that are likely to command increasing attention in the coming years. (shrink)
Everyone agrees that justice is a profoundly important value. People march and protest to demand it; more than a few have died in its pursuit. Yet when we stop to reflect on what makes for justice, or try to state in a clear way what we mean when we speak of justice, we may be perplexed. But if you are going to die in defense of some value, it is important for you to have a fairly clear (...) conception of what that value is. This book is an attempt to explain and defend, in clear and precise terms, a novel and controversial view about what makes for distributivejustice in a country. The theory is a form of desertism, according to which justice reigns in a country when the government ensures that citizens receive the benefits and burdens they deserve. (shrink)
Through modern driver assistant systems, algorithmic decisions already have a significant impact on the behavior of vehicles in everyday traffic. This will become even more prominent in the near future considering the development of autonomous driving functionality. The need to consider ethical principles in the design of such systems is generally acknowledged. However, scope, principles and strategies for their implementations are not yet clear. Most of the current discussions concentrate on situations of unavoidable crashes in which the life of human (...) beings is existentially affected. In this paper, we argue that ethical considerations should be mandatory for any algorithmic decision of autonomous vehicles, instead of a limitation to hazard situations. Such an ethically aligned behavior is relevant because autonomous vehicles, like any other traffic participants, operate in a shared public space, where every behavioral decision impacts the operational possibilities of others. These possibilities concern the fulfillment of a road-user’s safety, utility and comfort needs. We propose that, to operate ethically in such space, an autonomous vehicle will have to take its behavior decisions according to a just distribution of operational possibilities among all traffic participants. Using an application on a partially-autonomous prototype vehicle, we describe how to apply and implement concepts of distributivejustice to the driving environment and demonstrate the impact on its behavior in comparison to an advanced but egoistic decision maker. (shrink)
Household debt has been widely discussed among social scientists, policy makers, and activists. Many have questioned the levels of debt households are required to take on, and have made various proposals for assisting households in debt. Yet theorists of distributivejustice have left household debt underexamined. This article offers a normative examination of the distributivejustice issues presented by proposals to relieve household debt or protect households from overindebtedness. I examine two goals at which debt relief (...) proposals aim: remedying disadvantage and stabilizing expectations. I then examine strategies for relieving existing debts such as debt abolition, forgiveness, bankruptcy, and mitigation, as well as strategies that aim to prevent future indebtedness, such as public provision or financing of costly goods and credit or interest rate regulations. (shrink)
Liberalism and DistributiveJustice discusses liberalism, capitalism, distributivejustice, and John Rawls's difference principle. Chapters are organized in a narrative arc: from liberalism as the dominant political and economic system, to the laws governing interpersonal transactions in liberal society, to basic economic and political institutions that determine distributivejustice.
This article presents a relatively straightforward theoretical framework about distributivejustice with applications. It draws on a few key concepts of Sociological Game Theory. SGT is presented briefly in section 2. Section 3 provides a spectrum of distributive cases concerning principles of equality, differentiation among recipients according to performance or contribution, status or authority, or need. Two general types of social organization of distributive judgment are distinguished and judgment procedures or algorithms are modeled in each type (...) of social organization. Section 4 discusses briefly the larger moral landscapes of human judgment – how distribution may typically be combined with other value into consideration. The article suggests that Rawls, Elster, and Machado point in this direction. Finally, it is suggested that the SGT framework presented provides a useful point of departure to systematically link it and compare the Warsaw School of Fair Division, Rawls, and Elster, among others. (shrink)
This paper discusses two distinct questions of distributivejustice raised by climate change. Stated very roughly, one question concerns how much protection is owed to the potential victims of climate change (the Just Target Question), and the second concerns how the burdens (and benefits) involved in preventing dangerous climate change should be distributed (the Just Burden Question). In Section II, I focus on the first of these questions, the Just Target Question. The rest of the paper examines the (...) second question, the Just Burden Question. To answer this question, I argue, it is necessary to address two important methodological questions (one concerning the choice between what I term Integrationism and Isolationism and the other concerning the choice between what I term Holism and Atomism). Sections III-V, thus, set out and explore these two methodological issues. Having done so, the paper then turns from methodological issues to substantive analysis, and in Section VI it examines three principles of distributivejustice that, it has been suggested, should determine how the burden of addressing dangerous climatic changes should be distributed (the Polluter Pays Principle, the Ability to Pay Principle and the Beneficiary Pays Principle). (shrink)
Various arguments have been provided for drawing non-humans such as animals and artificial agents into the sphere of moral consideration. In this paper, I argue for a shift from an ontological to a social-philosophical approach: instead of asking what an entity is, we should try to conceptually grasp the quasi-social dimension of relations between non-humans and humans. This allows me to reconsider the problem of justice, in particular distributivejustice . Engaging with the work of Rawls, I (...) show that an expansion of the contractarian framework to non-humans causes an important problem for liberalism, but can be justified by a contractarian argument. Responding to Bell’s and Nussbaum’s comments on Rawls, I argue that we can justify drawing non-humans into the sphere of distributivejustice by relying on the notion of a co-operative scheme. I discuss what co-operation between humans and non-humans can mean and the extent to which it depends on properties. I conclude that we need to imagine principles of ecological and technological distributivejustice. (shrink)
Distributivejustice, defined as justice in distribution of income and wealth, is impossible. Income and wealth are distributed either unequally or equally. If unequally, then those with less are unjustly subject to social contempt. But equal distribution is impossible because it is inconsistent with bargaining to advance our own good. Hence justice in distribution of income and wealth is impossible. More generally, societies where social relations are mediated by money are necessarily unjust, and Marx was wrong (...) to think a socialist society which retained money would lead to communism. Contributive justice proposes that each flourishes by advancing the flourishing of others. To achieve this goal all labor, both simple and complex, must be shared among all capable of doing it. The good of contributing our abilities to benefit others is then available to all non-competitively. (shrink)
In John Rawls’s theory, the role of the principles of justice is to regulate the basic structure of society—its major social, political and economic institutions—and to specify the fair terms of cooperation for free and equal persons. Some have interpreted Rawls as excluding contract law, and perhaps the private law as a whole, from the basic structure. However, this interpretation of Rawls is untenable, given the motivations for his emphasis on the basic structure and the highly inclusive characterisations he (...) gives of it. Yet if he includes private law within the basic structure, he seems committed to holding that its design and operations should be regulated by his two principles of justice, which govern the distribution of basic liberties, economic resources and opportunities. This would leave it unclear whether there was any room for values other than distributive values to inform the design of private law. Leaving no role for other values might be unproblematic if distributivejustice were a master normative category with equal regulative authority over all basic social institutions. But we should not assume that this ‘distributivist paradigm’ gives the best interpretation either of private law or of the fair terms of cooperation for a society of free and equal people. We need to think further about how non-distributive values may inform the principles of justice that regulate the institutional structure of society. And we need to ask how much of law, whether public or private, is regulated solely by principles of justice that focus on the distribution of basic liberties, economic resources and opportunities. (shrink)
Amartya Sen is a renowned economist who has also made important contributions to philosophical thinking about distributivejustice. These contributions tend to take the form of criticism of inadequate positions and insistence on making distinctions that will promote clear thinking about the topic. Sen is not shy about making substantive normative claims, but thus far he has avoided commitment to a theory of justice, in the sense of a set of principles that specifies what facts are relevant (...) for policy choice and determines, given a full characterization of any situation in terms of these relevant facts, what ought to be done in that situation. Moreover, Sen has expressed skepticism about the existence of a fully adequate theory in this sense. According to Sen there is a plurality of moral considerations that bear on choice of action and policy and no particular reason to think that weights can be attached nonarbitrarily to each consideration to yield a theory.1 “Sen’s proposal is that distributivejustice entails equalizing midfare levels across persons,” writes John Roemer.2 “Other things being equal,” one has to add by way of correction to Roemer’s formulation. Sen holds that we should be concerned with the extent of people’s capability or freedom to attain midfare as well as the midfare level actually reached. Sen holds that distributive values.. (shrink)
One of the arguments against conducting human subject trials inthe Third World adopts a distributivejustice principle found ina commentary of the CIOM'S Eighth Guideline for internationalresearch on human subjects. Critics argue that non-participantmembers of the community in which the trials are conducted areexploited because sponsoring agencies do not ensure that theproducts developed have been made reasonably available to theseindividuals.I argue that the distributive principle's wording is too vagueand ambiguous to be used to criticize any trial. Furthermore,the (...) mere fact that an experiment does not fulfill this particulardistributive justice principle does not entail that it isunethical. (shrink)
Dismissal is a major issue for distributivejustice at work, because it normally has a drastic impact on an employee’s livelihood, self-esteem and future career. This article examines distributivejustice under the US’s employment-at-will (EAW) system and New Zealand’s just-cause dismissal system, focusing on the three main categories of dismissal, namely misconduct, poor performance and redundancy. Under EAW, employees have limited protection from dismissal and remedies are restricted to just a few so-called exceptions. Comparatively, New Zealand’s (...) just-cause system delivers much more just outcomes, both in terms of remedies and punishments. Despite a few shortcomings, it should be considered as a reasonable reference for policy changes in the US. (shrink)
Despite the prominence of thresholds in theories of distributivejustice, there is no general account of what sort of role is played by the idea of a threshold within such theories. This has allowed an ongoing lack of clarity and misunderstanding around views that employ thresholds. In this article, I develop an account of the concept of thresholds in distributivejustice. I argue that this concept contains three elements, which threshold views deploy when ranking possible distributions. (...) These elements are (i) the level of the threshold, (ii) what constitutes the value of the threshold, and (iii) how benefits above and below the threshold must be allocated. I highlight three contributions that this particular account of thresholds makes: it clarifies the nature of the shift that occurs at the threshold; it resolves a common misunderstanding about headcount principles; and it shows how the arbitrariness objection can be met. (shrink)
This volume of seminal and recent articles by philosophers in the distributivejustice debate covers a range of representative positions, including libertarian, egalitarian, desert and welfare theories. The introduction and articles are designed to allow students and professionals to see some of the most influential pieces that have shaped the field, as well as some key critics of these positions. The articles intersect in such a way as to develop an appreciation of the types of theories and the (...) central issues addressed by theories of distributivejustice. (shrink)
Can we achieve greater fairness by reforming the corporation? Some recent progressive critics of the corporation arguethat we can achieve greater social justice both inside and outside the corporation by simply rewriting or reinterpreting corporate rulesto favor non-stockholders over stockholders. But the progressive program for reforming the corporation rests on a critical assumption,which I challenge in this essay, namely that the rules of the corporation matter, so that changing them can effect a lasting redistribution of wealth from stockholders to (...) non-stockholders. This essay uses a critique of the progressive reform program to argue that the rules ofthe corporation are distributively neutral. The corporation isn't rigged against non-stockholders, and changing its rules will not improve the bargaining power of non-stockholders. However, while the rules may be epiphenomenal from the standpoint of distributivejustice, they can have substantial impacts on the corporation's efficiency. As a result, the proposed reforms may hurt the corporation's capacity to generate benefits for all the parties concerned. (shrink)
Distributivejustice has come to the fore in political philosophy: how should we arrange our social and economic institutions so as to distribute benefits and burdens fairly? Thirty-two leading figures from philosophy and political theory present specially written critical assessments of the key issues in this flourishing area of research.
The present article explores ‘anti-cosmopolitan’ arguments that shared institutions above the state, such as there are, are not of a kind that support or give rise to distributive claims beyond securing minimum needs. The upshot is to rebut certain of these ‘anti-cosmopolitan’ arguments. Section 1 asks under which conditions institutions are subject to distributivejustice norms. That is, which sound reasons support claims to a relative share of the benefits of institutions that exist and apply to individuals? (...) Such norms may require strict equality, Rawls’ Difference Principle, or other constraints on inequality. Section 2 considers, and rejects, several arguments why existing international institutions are not thought to meet these conditions. (shrink)
The compensatory desert argument is an argument that purports to justify inequalities in (some) incomes generated by a free labour market. It holds, first, that the principle of compensation is a principle of desert; second, that a distribution justified by a principle of desert is just; and third, that (some) rewards people reap on a free labour market are compensation for costs they incur. It concludes that therefore, a distribution of (some) rewards generated by a free labour market is just. (...) In this chapter I criticise the first two premises of this argument. I argue that the principle of compensation is not a principle of desert (sections 3 and 4), and that a distribution of deserved compensatory payments may be unjust (sections 5 and 6). Before developing my critique of the compensatory desert argument, I start by illustrating further that argument in the version of it which has been defended by Julian Lamont (section 1), and to dispel two objections that have been moved against the view that compensation is a principle of desert. (shrink)
Many anticosmopolitan Rawlsians argue that since the primary subject of justice is society's basic structure, and since there is no global basic structure, the scope of justice is domestic. This paper challenges the anticosmopolitan basic structure argument by distinguishing three interpretations of what Rawls meant by the basic structure and its relation to justice, corresponding to the cooperation, pervasive impact, and coercion theories of distributivejustice. On the cooperation theory, it is true that there is (...) no global basic structure, but the basic structure turns out to be only an instrumental condition for realizing justice, and not an existence condition that must be met before demands of justice arise. On the pervasive impact and coercion theories, the basic structure is indeed an existence condition, but there exists a global basic structure. The upshot is that on any plausible interpretation of Rawls's account of the basic structure, Rawlsian justice is global in scope. (shrink)
On this occasion I wish to elaborate further the conception of distributivejustice that I have already sketched elsewhere. This conception derives from the ideal of social justice implicit in the two principles proposed in the essay “Justice as Fairness.” These discussions need to be supplemented in at least two ways. For one thing, the two parts of the second principle are ambiguous: in each part a crucial phrase admits of two interpretations. The two principles read (...) as follows: first, each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others; and second, social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both (a) reasonably expected to be to everyone's advantage, and (b) attached to positions and offices equally open to all. The two ambiguous phrases in the second principle are “everyone's advantage” in part (a) and “equally open to all” in part (b). I shall consider these ambiguities and the several interpretations of the two principles to which they give rise. I shall leave aside any difficulties with the first principle and assume that its sense is the same throughout and clear enough for our purposes. (shrink)
The word “justice” is used in several different ways. First, justice is sometimes understood as moral permissibility applied to distributions of benefits and burdens (e.g., income distributions) or social structures (e.g., legal systems). In this sense, justice is distinguished by the kind of entity to which it is applied, rather than a specific kind of moral concern.
Theories of distributivejustice are most severely tested in the area of disability. In this book, Mark Stein argues that utilitarianism performs better than egalitarian theories in this area: whereas egalitarian theories help the disabled either too little or too much, utilitarianism achieves the proper balance by placing resources where they will do the most good. Stein offers what may be the broadest critique of egalitarian theory from a utilitarian perspective. He addresses the work of egalitarian theorists John (...) Rawls, Ronald Dworkin, Amartya Sen, Bruce Ackerman, Martha Nussbaum, Norman Daniels, Philippe Van Parijs, and others. Stein claims that egalitarians are often driven to borrow elements of utilitarianism in order to make their theories at all plausible. The book concludes with an acknowledgment that both utilitarians and egalitarians face problems in the distribution of life-saving medical resources. Stein advocates a version of utilitarianism that would distribute life-saving resources based on life expectancy, not quality of life. Egalitarian theories, he argues, ignore life expectancy and so are again found wanting. _Distributive Justice and Disability _is a powerful and engaging book that helps to reframe the debate between egalitarian and utilitarian thinkers. (shrink)
This paper provides a critical examination of the strongest defenses of the pure lifetime view, according to which justice requires taking only people's whole lives as relevant when assessing and establishing their distributive entitlements and obligations. The paper proposes that we reject a pure lifetime view and replace it with an alternative view, on which some time-specific considerations--that is to say, considerations about how people fare at specific points in time--have nonderivative weight in determining what our obligations are (...) to them. (shrink)
It is generally recognised that the potential positive and negative impacts of geoengineering will be distributed unevenly both geographically and temporally. The question of distributivejustice in geoengineering thus is one of the major ethical issues associated with geoengineering. Currently, the question of distributivejustice in geoengineering is framed in terms of who gets what (potential) benefits and harms from geoengineering, i.e. it is about the distribution of the outcomes of geoengineering. In this paper, I argue (...) that the discussions on distributivejustice in geoengineering should not be outcome-based. Instead, it should be risk-based. I identify two problems for framing the question of distributivejustice in geoengineering in terms of the distribution of its outcomes, i.e. the ‘if and then’ syndrome and the limited applicability of distributive principles in geoengineering policy, and suggest risk is a more proper object of distribution in the case of geoengineering. Following Hayenhjelm, I argue that the object of distribution in the case of fair distribution of risk should be (i) sources of risks and (ii) precautionary measures. I shall then demonstrate how it can be applied to the question of distributivejustice in geoengineering. Finally, I end this paper by exploring the possible responses to the question of distributivejustice in geoengineering by three major accounts of distributivejustice, i.e. egalitarianism, prioritarianism, and sufficientarianism. (shrink)
The individualist nature of much contemporary just war theory means that we often discuss cases with single attackers. But even if war is best understood in this individualist way, in war combatants often have to make decisions about how to distribute harms among a plurality of aggressors: they must decide whom and how many to harm, and how much to harm them. In this paper, I look at simultaneous multiple aggressor cases in which more than one distribution of harm among (...) aggressors is available. I show how such cases pose deep questions concerning the nature, role, and scope of the necessity principle, and its relationship to both liability and narrow proportionality. I argue that a hitherto unrecognised measure – ‘narrow proportionality shortfall’ – and its distribution is relevant in choosing how to distribute harms across aggressors. I then extend this analysis to show how this may help us with a puzzle concerning sequential attacks. (shrink)
Usually a relational approach, such as one appealing to care or love, is contrasted with an account of justice. In this chapter, however, I argue that distributivejustice is well conceived as itself a matter of honouring people in virtue of their capacity to love and to be loved. After spelling out a familiar conception of love, I explain how treating people with respect in light of this capacity provides a plausible basis for human rights, one that (...) rivals influential individualist foundations such as Kantian respect for autonomy and Catholic honor of human life. I also articulate an egalitarian conception of how to allocate wealth that I argue is also a function of treating people's ability to love as special and that can compete against views salient in Anglo-American political philosophy such as cost-benefit analysis and John Rawls’ difference principle. (shrink)
This case study analyzes the Fair Trade coffee label "Café Feminino" (as well as Fair Trade more generally) from the perspective of different theories of distributivejustice. Its purpose is to serve as a learning tool for students in business ethics courses.
In his recent Rescuing Justice and Equality, G. A. Cohen mounts a sustained critique of coerced labour, against the background of a radical egalitarian conception of distributivejustice. In this article, I argue that Cohenian egalitarians are committed to holding the talented under a moral duty to choose socially useful work for the sake of the less fortunate. As I also show, Cohen's arguments against coerced labour fail, particularly in the light of his commitment to coercive taxation. (...) In the course of defending those claims, I claim that Cohen's remarks on freedom of occupational choice and taxation exhibit partiality towards the interests of the better-off to the detriment of the less fortunate – a partiality which is in tension with his commitment to equality. (shrink)
This article examines how the existence of unpredictability should influence the quest to promote distributivejustice in education. First, the article briefly discusses resource allocation in education finance policy and its relationships with existing philosophical theories of distributivejustice. It then explains why unpredictability comes into play in education and how this endangers the achievements of distributivejustice. It is argued that unpredictability poses a real challenge to enhancing educational justice. Second, the article (...) examines the common policy conception that educational justice can best be promoted by reducing unpredictability through means of increased control. It is maintained that the costs of this solution exceed its benefits. Finally, the article offers alternative routes for dealing with unpredictability in educational resource allocations. It is argued that we have good reasons, both normative and practical, to embrace a new approach for furthering distributivejustice in education that takes into account the complexity of the educational system. (shrink)
_ Source: _Page Count 19 Collectivities can have obligations beyond the aggregate of pre-existing obligations of their members. Certain such collective obligations _distribute_, i.e., become members’ obligations to do their fair share. In _incremental good_ cases, i.e., those in which a member’s fair share would go part way toward fulfilling the collectivity’s obligation, each member has an unconditional obligation to contribute.States are involuntary collectivities that bear moral obligations. Certain states, _democratic legal states_, are collectivities whose obligations can distribute. Many existing (...) states are democratic legal states, but none satisfies more rigorous requirements of distributivejustice. There, citizens who hold assets, in excess of what is just, bear a distributed duty to dedicate that excess toward correcting the injustice. It is an incremental good case not conditioned on the conformity of others who are also wealthier than justice allows, nor on the diligence of the state in meeting its obligations. (shrink)
The importance of education and its profound effect on people's life make it a central issue in discussions of distributivejustice. However, promoting distributivejustice in education comes at a price: prioritising the education of some, as is often entailed by the principles of justice, inevitably has negative effects on the education of others. As a result, all theories of distributivejustice in education face the challenge of balancing their requirements with conflicting interests. (...) This article aims to contribute to developing an account of conflicting interests by identifying a category of conflicting interests—non-positional conflicting interests—the realisation of which does not necessarily disrupt distributivejustice. Non-positional conflicting interests include, for example, the interest in realising one's full potential and parents’ interest in familial relations. The article argues that the core dimensions of non-positional conflicting interests can usually be realised without upsetting distributivejustice, and that actions that do upset distributivejustice tend to be peripheral to these interests. Either way, there is no severe friction between distributivejustice and non-positional conflicting interests: in the former cases, both are realised simultaneously. In the latter, tension exists; however, because the infringement on the conflicting interest is of relatively little weight, it is often justified, all things considered, in order to promote distributivejustice. The conclusion is that while there are indeed cases in which distributivejustice must retreat in the face of other interests, the friction between distributivejustice and other interests is actually weaker than meets the eye. (shrink)
This article argues that a theory of recognition cannot provide the comprehensive basis for a critical theory or a conception of social justice. In this respect, I agree with Fraser's impulse to include more in such a theory, such as distributivejustice and participatory parity. Fraser does not go far enough, to the extent that methodologically she seeks a theory of the same sort as Honneth's. Both Honneth's and Fraser's comprehensive theories cannot account for a central phenomenon (...) of contemporary societies: domination as structural exclusion rather than tyranny or the lack of parity. This phenomenon shows that at the very least freedom ought to remain central to any critical theory of globalization. Most of all, both theories fail to provide a way to decide whether democratic practices can produce justice. A pluralist and pragmatic form of critical theory is thus superior to any comprehensive normative theory. (shrink)
The philosophical debate on secession has hitherto revolved primarily around the question of self-determination rather than that of distributivejustice. Normative theorists of secession have approached the question of secession mostly in terms of the right that the secessionist group has to secede. Much less attention has been paid to the extent and the nature of obligations or duties that the seceding group might have toward the group it is leaving behind. At best, secession theorists have introduced clauses (...) to the effect that secession should not undermine the remainder state’s viability nor violate prior arrangements of reciprocal cooperation. While these clauses certainly reflect a certain concern for distributivejustice, I argue that they are insufficient in two respects: they are problematically minimal in what they require, and the justification given for these clauses accounts only for part of the normative picture. In this paper, I address these two shortcomings by arguing that the seceding group might have significant duties of distributivejustice toward the remainder group, and that these duties are associative in nature and stem from a concern to secure non-domination within the pre-secession polity. What is gained from my non-domination account, then, is that it is analytically more comprehensive and normatively more accurate. In arguing for claims and, the paper contributes both to the debate on secession as well as to the conceptualization of associative duties and of non-domination. (shrink)
Bargaining games typically involve two players distributing a specific payoff (usually money), and will be our focus here, as they are especially helpful for examining the moral psychology of justice. Examples include the ultimatum game and dictator game. We will also look at a novel twist on the dictator game by the psychologist Daniel Batson, which has fostered a large experimental literature on what he calls ‘moral hypocrisy.’ Finally we will connect this discussion of economic games to the virtue (...) of justice and to other personality traits such as agreeableness, honesty-humility, and justice sensitivity. (shrink)