Judgments about Justice as Intuitional and Nuanced

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



This chapter examines people's judgments about justice. It first explores the intuitional nature of our judgments about justice and what that nature means in practice. It argues that humans have an internal system that produces intuitive judgments that is importantly different from the system that produces the deliberate operations of reasoned judgments. The chapter then turns to existing research to test the common wisdom that judgments about justice are vague or at best unspecific. Evidence suggests the contrary, that intuitions of justice among lay persons exist on a wide variety of liability and punishment issues. They are quite nuanced, and produce specific conclusions regarding deserved punishment, not simply broad generalities or outer limits.


common wisdom, justice, intuition, reasoned judgments

Publication Title

Intuitions of Justice and the Utility of Desert