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Pojman’s Views on Merit and Desert

1. Introduction

This essay will provide a summary of Louis Pojman’s views on merit and desert as expressed in his article “Merit: Why do We Value it?” Pojman’s main contention is that the principle of fittingness, which holds that virtue is rewarded and vice is punished in proportionate measure, is the primary reason why we value merit. He goes on to reject the views of Karl Marx, Herbert Spencer, and Henry Sedgewick that desert is either nonexistent or unimportant.

2. Pojman’s Views on Merit and Desert

2.1 The principle of fittingness

Pojman begins by stating that the principle of fittingness is the basis for our evaluation of desert. This principle holds that people should be rewarded or punished in proportion to their actions, so that good deeds are rewarded and bad deeds are punished. Pojman argues that this principle is just and fair, because it ensures that people are treated according to their merits. He also believes that the principle of fittingness is the primary reason why we value merit, since it motivates us to act virtuously in order to receive rewards and avoid punishment.

2. 2 Marx’s views on desert

Pojman then turns to Karl Marx’s view that desert is non-existent or unimportant. Marx argued that economic inequality is the root cause of social injustice, and that redistributing wealth would therefore be more just than rewarding people according to their merits. Pojman rejects this view, arguing that Marx misunderstands the concept of desert. He argues that desert does not depend on economic circumstances, but instead depends on the actions of individuals. Therefore, it is possible for someone to deserve a reward even if they are poor, and it is possible for someone to deserve punishment even if they are wealthy.

2. 3 Spencer’s views on desert

Herbert Spencer believed that deserts should be based on ability, not effort. Pojman criticizes this view, arguing that it leads to a “meritocracy” in which only the most able people are rewarded. He argues that this system would be unjust, because it would punish people who are not naturally gifted and would fail to reward people who make great efforts but do not have natural ability. Pojman also criticizes Spencer’s view that rewards should be proportional to ability, arguing that this would lead to excessive rewards for those with high ability and no rewards for those with low ability.

2. 4 Sedgewick’s views on desert

Henry Sedgewick believed that desert should be based on need, not merit. Pojman criticizes this view as well, arguing that it would lead to a system in which those who need the most help would receive the least help. He also argues that Sedgewick’s view fails to take into account the fact that people can deserve rewards for their actions even if they do not need them.

3. Conclusion

In conclusion, Pojman’s views on merit and desert are based on the principle of fittingness, which holds that virtue is rewarded and vice is punished in proportionate measure. He rejects the views of Karl Marx, Herbert Spencer, and Henry Sedgewick that desert is either nonexistent or unimportant.

FAQ

Merit is a quality or achievement that deserves praise, admiration, or respect.

We value merit because it is an indication of excellence or worthiness. It can also be used as a measure for making decisions about who to hire, promote, or award scholarships to.

Merit impacts our lives in many ways. For example, employers often use merit as one of the criteria for hiring and promotion decisions. Schools may also consider merit when awarding scholarships or admission into programs.

If we didn't have merit, we would likely have to rely on other factors such as luck or nepotism to make important decisions. This could lead to less qualified people being hired or promoted and ultimately result in poorer outcomes for organizations and society as a whole.

Merit can be improved by ensuring that decision-makers are using objective criteria when assessing candidates

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