Retributivism, Consequentialism, and the Intrinsic Goodness of Punishment

Law and Philosophy 16 (5):507-528 (1997)
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Abstract

Retributivism is commonly taken as an alternative to a consequentialist justification of punishment. It has recently been suggested, however, that retributivism can be recast as a consequentialist theory. This suggestion is shown to be untenable. The temptation to advance it is traced to an “intrinsic good” claim prominent in retributive thinking. This claim is examined, and is argued to be of little help in coping with the difficulties besetting the retributive theory, as well as clashing with a “desert” claim equally central to that theory.

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