Choices, Consequences and Desert

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Abstract

It is a commonly held position in the literature on distributive justice that choices individuals make from an equalized background may lead to inequalities of outcome. This raises the question of how to assign consequences to particular types of behaviour. Theories of justice based on the concept of moral responsibility offer considerable guidance as to how society should be structured, but they rarely address the question of what the consequences of making a particular choice should be. To fill this lacuna, these theories must rely on a theory of consequences. I argue that the most plausible theories of consequences are substantive rather than procedural in nature. Such theories of consequences are inherently based on the concept of desert. By evaluating individuals' choices society may determine the appropriate consequences of choices for which they are responsible.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-126
JournalInquiry-an Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy
Volume52
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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