Friday, July 4, 2008

Thoughts on Love and Desert: Past Notes

More past notes while I gather my thoughts to comment on some recent articles. This is just me puzzling over love and desert:


Love dictates morality. Immoral love is imperfect and dictated to by true love. The original "ought" is to love.

What does it mean to deserve punishment? Is this something irreducible or can it be explained in terms of something else? Look at some of the reasons for punishment - it was threatened in order to be a deterrence (Gen 2-3), it provides correction (punishing a child - many times in the Bible), it makes one an example for others (Ananias and Sephira). Is there any sense, though, in which evil by itself simply deserves punishment? Let us look at punishment's opposite - reward. What does it mean to deserve reward? Some reasons for reward - promised in order to be an incentive, it provides positive reinforcement, it makes on an example for others to follow. Is there any sense, though, in which good by itself simply deserves reward? Is there any intrinsic merit or demerit? What does it mean to deserve something at all? Irreducibility seems attractive - look at the urge for revenge (I am offended, this person deserves punishment). Clearly desert is intricately connected with normativity and consequences of actions. Maybe I deserve whatever is a consequence to myself (foreseeable) of what I do. But this is not enough for an adequate analysis. What else is needed?

Isn't love by nature active? Isn't it more than a mere feeling? Consider Frankfurt's analysis and its natural fittingness over Velleman's. Love considers its object as an end - a final end. Is the beloved, though, valuable because it is loved or is it loved because it is valuable? Love will give of itself - it is self-sacrificing. Even self-love is like this - I will forgo other things in order to do things for myself. I do not love myself for any other end than myself. "Love your neighbor as yourself."

When I feel guilty I wish to make atonement - I feel I ought to suffer. What does this say about deserving?

What is the connection between fault and desert? You deserve what you are responsible for - whatever leads to desert is your fault. Anything else?

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