Punishment, Rewards and the (Relative) Importance of Desert
24 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2020
Date Written: July 21, 2020
Philosophers and legal theorists have long been interested in the idea of desert. In this work I intend to demonstrate that the importance of desert is, at times, overrated, leading thinkers to adopt rather extreme positions. I believe that the concept of desert is important in some cases, but desert is by no means central to our thinking of punishment and reward, nor should it be. Even though the concept of desert is generally addressed in matters regarding retribution, I will argue that this concept should not be the basis upon which we build our constructs of punishment and reward. Rather, we should consider the impact that luck has on our lives. If we do so, those considerations would change our perception of the concept of desert.
Keywords: Desert; Punishment; Moral Luck
JEL Classification: K14; K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation