A Kantian critique of Kant's theory of punishment

Law and Philosophy 19 (3):311-338 (2000)

In contrast to the traditional view of Kant as a pure retributivist, the recent interpretations of Kant's theory of punishment (for instance Byrd's) propose a mixed theory of retributivism and general prevention. Although both elements are literally right, I try to show the shortcomings of each. I then argue that Kant's theory of punishment is not consistent with his own concept of law. Thus I propose another justification for punishment: special deterrence and rehabilitation. Kant's critique of utilitarianism does not affect this alternative, which moreover has textual support in Kant and is fully consistent with his concept of law.
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