1st Edition

Desert Collapses Why No One Deserves Anything

By Stephen Kershnar Copyright 2022
    258 Pages 21 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    258 Pages 21 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    People consider desert part of our moral world. It structures how we think about important areas such as love, punishment, and work. This book argues that no one deserves anything. If this is correct, then claims that people deserve general and specific things are false.

    At the heart of desert is the notion of moral credit or discredit. People deserve good things (credit) when they are good people or do desirable things. These desirable things might be right, good, or virtuous acts. People deserve bad things (discredit) when they are bad people or do undesirable things. On some theories, people deserve credit in general terms. For instance, they deserve a good life. On other theories, people deserve credit in specific terms. For instance, they deserve specific incomes, jobs, punishments, relationships, or reputations. The author’s argument against desert rests on three claims:

    1. There is no adequate theory of what desert is.
    2. Even if there were an adequate theory of what desert is, nothing grounds (justifies) desert.
    3. Even if there were an adequate theory of what desert is and something were to ground it, there is no plausible account of what people deserve.

    Desert Collapses will be of interest to researchers and advanced students working in ethics and political philosophy.


    Part 1: Nature of Desert

    Chapter 1: Nature

    Part 2: Ground of Desert

    Chapter 2: Ground

    Chapter 3: Circularity

    Chapter 4: Responsibility

    Part 3: General Desert

    Chapter 5: Geometry

    Chapter 6: Mathematics

    Part 4: Specific Desert

    Chapter 7: Animals

    Chapter 8: Contribution

    Part 5: Desert Literature

    Chapter 9: Desert-Literature Failures

    Part 6: Conclusion

    Chapter 10: Conclusion

    Part 7: Appendices

    Appendix 1: Time

    Appendix 2: Amount of Responsibility


    Stephen Kershnar is a distinguished teaching professor in the philosophy department at the State University of New York at Fredonia and an attorney. He focuses on applied ethics and political philosophy. Kershnar has written roughly one hundred articles and book chapters on such diverse topics as abortion, adult-child sex, affirmative action, capitalism, discrimination, equal opportunity, hell, most valuable player, pleasure, pornography, punishment, reparations for slavery, sexual fantasies, slavery, and torture. He is the author of nine books, including Total Collapse: The Case Against Morality and Responsibility (2018), Does the Pro-Life Worldview Make Sense? Abortion, Hell, and Shooting Abortion-Doctors (Routledge, 2017), and Adult-Child Sex: A Philosophical Defense (2015).