© 1999

Values, Achievement, and Justice

Studies in the Psychology of Deservingness


Part of the Critical Issues in Social Justice book series (CISJ)

Table of contents

About this book


When we say that a person deserves a positive or negative outcome, we are making a judgment that is influenced by a number ofvariables. We would certainly take into account whether the person was resp- siblefortheoutcomeorwhethertheoutcomecouldbeattributedtoother sources. We would also consider whether the actions that led to the positive or negative outcome were actions that we would value or - tionsthatwouldmeetwithourdisapproval.Wemightalsobeinfluenced by the person’s own positive or negative characteristics, by ourkno- edgeofwhatkinds ofgroups orsocialcategoriesthepersonbelongedto, and by whether we like or dislike the person. Information about these differentvariableshastobe consideredandintegratedin someway, and our judgment of deservingness follows that psychological process, a process that involves the cognitive-affective system. Values, Achievements, and Justice is about deservingness and about the variables that affect the judgments we make. I use the term “dese- ingness” although I could equally have referred to “deservedness” or “desert.” The terms are all virtually equivalent in meaning, although dictionaries may separate them by using fine distinctions. I assume that the sorts of variables I have just described will affect ourjudgments of deservingness, and I further assume that a judgment of deservingness is most likely to occur when these variables fit together in a consistent, harmonious, and balanced way.


Action attribution character psychology

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.The Flinders University of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

Bibliographic information


`...Feather deserves all the praise he will no doubt receive for his considerable achievements.'
APA REVIEW OF BOOKS, 46:3 (2001)