Meta-ethics and Ethics
Desert First published Tue May 14, 2002; substantive revision Wed Nov 12, 2008 The concept of desert is deeply entrenched in everyday morality. We say that effort deserves success, wrongdoing deserves punishment, innocent suffering deserves sympathy or compensation, virtue deserves happiness, and so on. We think that the getting of what's deserved is just, and that failure to receive what's deserved is unjust. We also believe it's good that a person gets what she deserves, and bad that she doesn't—even if she deserves something bad, like punishment.