Graduate studies at Western
Philosophical Quarterly 52 (207):145-163 (2002)
|Abstract||Retribution is often dismissed as augmenting the initial harm done, rather than ameliorating it. This criticism rests on a crude view of retribution. In our actual practice in informal situations and in the workings of the reactive (properly called 'retributive') sentiments, retribution is true to the gravity of wrongdoing, but does aim to ameliorate it. Through wrongdoing, offenders become alienated from the moral community: their actions place their commitment to its core values in doubt. We recognize this status in blaming, a withdrawal of civility and solidarity which symbolizes the moral distance wrongdoers have put between them and us. Atonement is the means by which they make themselves 'at one' again with the community. Retribution is properly understood as a cycle which recognizes disruption and alienation, but aims at reconciliation|
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