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Title: Matching Well-Being to Merit
Subtitle: The Example of Punishment
Author(s): WATKINS, Jeremy
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 18    Issue: 1   Date: 2011   
Pages: 5-27
DOI: 10.2143/EP.18.1.2066211

Abstract :
In this paper, I explore our common-sense thinking about the relation between moral value, moral merit, and well-being. Starting from Ross’s observation that welfarist axiologies ignore our intuitions about desert, I focus on axiologies that take moral merit and well-being to be independent determinants of value. I distinguish three ways in which these axiologies can be formulated, and I then consider their application to the issue of punishment. The objection that they recommend penalties in circumstances in which intuitively we would judge them to be unjustified is examined, and I suggest that it can be met by incorporating temporal information into the way in which value, well-being and moral merit are linked.

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