Making sense of retributivism

Philosophy 76 (1):77-110 (2001)
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Abstract

This paper explicates and challenges John Rawl's argument concerning a rule-utilitarian theory of punishment. In so doing, it argues in favour of a retributivist theory of punishment, one that seeks to justify, not only particular forms of punishment, but the institution of punishment itself. Some crucial objections to retributivism are then considered: one regarding the adverse effects of punishment on the innocent, another concerning proportional punishment, a third pertaining to vengeance and retribution, a Marxian concern with retributive punishment, and a concern with the concept of desert. Each objection is deflected in order to ward-off what seem to be the most serious criticisms of a retributivist view of punishment and to clarify the depth of the retributivist position.

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J. Angelo Corlett
San Diego State University

Citations of this work

Amnesty and Mercy.Patrick Lenta - 2019 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 13 (4):621-641.
Hegel's Complete Views on Crime and Punishment.Andrew Komasinski - 2018 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 4 (4):525-544.
Kant's Theory of Punishment.Thom Brooks - 2003 - Utilitas 15 (2):206.
Is Hegel a Retributivist?Thom Brooks - 2004 - Bulletin of the Hegel Society of Great Britain 25 (1-2):113-126.

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