David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Law and Philosophy 22 (6):561-575 (2003)
Punishment stands in need of justification because it involves intentionally harming offenders. Trust-based retributivists attempt to justify punishment by appeal to the offender’s violation of the victim’s trust, maintaining that the state is entitled to punish offenders as a means of restoring conditions of trust to their pre-offense levels. I argue that trust-based retributivism fails on two counts. First, it entails the permissibility of punishing the legally innocent and fails to justify the punishment of some offenders. Second, it cannot satisfactorily explain why it is morally permissible for the government to intentionally harm offenders.
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