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Intuitions of Justice and the Utility of Desert$
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Paul H. Robinson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199917723

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199917723.001.0001

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Disagreements about Justice

Disagreements about Justice

(p.63) 4 }Disagreements about Justice
Intuitions of Justice and the Utility of Desert

Paul H. Robinson

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on disagreements about intuitions of justice. It first discusses how the use of ambiguous crime scenarios leads to disagreement, but only disagreement about the case facts and not about its relative blameworthiness. Also, the fact that some people prefer more harsh punishment generally, while others prefer more lenient punishment generally, tends to obscure the agreement between the two groups on the relative blameworthiness of different offenders. The chapter then presents two studies that demonstrate true disagreements. The studies suggest that the high level of agreement seen for a “core” of wrongdoing breaks down as the case facts moves out from the “core” to include more culturally dependent factors. And while many lay judgments about justice are intuitive, not all are. Especially as a case moves out from the core, reasoned judgments, engaging life experiences, and personal values come into play; and these, of course, can differ among people.

Keywords:   justice, intuitions, punishment, blameworthiness, crime, lay judgments

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