Say what? A Critique of Expressive Retributivism

Law and Philosophy 27 (2):123-150 (2008)
Some philosophers think that the challenge of justifying punishment can be met by a theory that emphasizes the expressive character of punishment. A particular type of theories of this sort - call it Expressive Retributivism [ER] - combines retributivist and expressivist considerations. These theories are retributivist since they justify punishment as an intrinsically appropriate response to wrongdoing, as something wrongdoers deserve, but the expressivist element in these theories seeks to correct for the traditional obscurity of retributivism. Retributivists often rely on appeals to controversial intuitions involving obscure concepts. While retributive intuitions can be compelling, some worry that the justificatory challenge cannot be met merely by appealing to them. ER tries to enhance the clarity and justificatory power of these intuitions and the concepts they invoke by appealing to an expressive conception of punishment. I argue that these theories fail to justify punishment and that there is reason to think that they cannot, in principle, justify punishment.
Keywords Law   Logic   Political Science   Social Sciences, general   Philosophy of Law   Law Theory/Law Philosophy
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10982-007-9014-6
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
H. L. A. Hart (1964). Law, Liberty, and Morality. Philosophical Review 73 (2):271-274.

View all 14 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Nathan Hanna (2009). The Passions of Punishment. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 90 (2):232-250.
Nathan Hanna (2014). Facing the Consequences. Criminal Law and Philosophy 8 (3):589-604.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

131 ( #18,967 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

8 ( #84,767 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.