Rawls’s Rejection of Preinstitutional Desert

Acta Analytica 28 (4):483-494 (2013)
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Abstract

For many, the idea that people should be rewarded in proportion to what they deserve is the very essence of distributive justice. However, while the notion of moral desert is otherwise widely accepted, Rawls rejects it entirely in his A Theory of Justice. Many authors have argued that Rawls’s claims about desert have serious and unappealing consequences for his conception of justice as fairness, and also that they deny the possibility of autonomous choice to the very agents whose decisions are supposed to underlie Rawls’s approach to justice. In this paper, I analyze the arguments of those who believe that Rawls can be interpreted in a way that doesn’t in fact deny either desert or the possibility of autonomous action. I conclude by allowing for the interpretation that Rawls does not necessarily deny autonomous action, but I contend that he nevertheless finds the idea of preinstitutional desert entirely off the mark

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Citations of this work

Public Reason and the Justification of Punishment.Zachary Hoskins - 2022 - Criminal Justice Ethics 41 (2):121-41.
Public Reason and the Justification of Punishment.Zachary Hoskins - 2022 - Criminal Justice Ethics 41 (2):121-141.

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References found in this work

Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - New York: Basic Books.
A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - Philosophy 52 (199):102-105.
Liberalism and the limits of justice.Michael Sandel - 2002 - Journal of Philosophy 81 (6):336-343.
Doing & Deserving; Essays in the Theory of Responsibility.Joel Feinberg - 1970 - Princeton, N.J.,: Princeton University Press.

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