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By Montesquieu

Dans cet very important ouvrage, monsieur de Montesquieu, sans s'appesantir, à l'exemple de ceux qui l'ont précédé, sur des discussions métaphysiques family à l'homme supposé dans un état d'abstraction ; sans se borner, comme d'autres, à considérer certains peuples dans quelques kin ou circonstances particulières, envisage les habitants de l'univers dans l'état réel où ils sont, et dans tous les rapports qu'ils peuvent avoir entr'eux. los angeles plupart des autres écrivains en ce style sont presque toujours, ou de simples moralistes, ou de simples jurisconsultes, ou même quelquefois de simples théologiens. Pour lui, l'homme de tous les will pay et de toutes les international locations, il s'occupe moins de ce que le devoir exige de nous, que des moyens par lesquels on peut nous obliger de le remplir ; de los angeles perfection métaphysique des lois, que de celles dont los angeles nature humaine nous rend susceptibles ; des lois qu'on a faites, que de celles qu'on a dû faire ; des lois d'un peuple particulier, que de celles de tous les peuples. (D'Alembert)

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Extra info for De l'esprit des lois, tome 2

Example text

Deserves’ here simply means ‘should be given’. In many other cases, however, ‘deserves’ is used to signal a relation of appropriateness or fittingness between what someone has done and some treatment or condition that may be bestowed or inflicted on them, and these are the cases that I want to identify as genuine cases of desert. So when we say that the student who has worked hard all year deserves a good examination mark, or that the boys who have vandalized the local bus shelter deserve to be caught and punished, we are appraising a piece of conduct, positively or negatively, and judging what should appropriately befall the agent as a result.

In their chapters, Thomas Hurka, David Miller, and Samuel Scheffler all identify different senses in which we talk of justice as comparative, revealing an issue that is more complex than may appear at first. To introduce the debate to which they contribute, I think it is helpful to draw attention to one distinction in particular. 50 This distinction, as we shall see, is an important one. Drawing it clarifies some discussions that would otherwise be at cross purposes, and allows us to make room for comparisons in desert-based justice while still subscribing to Feinberg’s view that desert is a noncomparative principle.

But it will worry me far less if different people respond differently to my actions, so long as I can see what each of them does as showing appropriate gratitude in their own way. What someone deserves in these cases, therefore, is a certain level of gratitude, and this can be understood noncomparatively, even if the way we express this gratitude may bring some, relatively weak, elements of comparison into play. The other case to consider here is deserved punishment. Does the type and amount of punishment that someone deserves depend on what others have received for similar or different crimes?

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