Political Neutrality and Punishment

Criminal Law and Philosophy 7 (2):217-230 (2013)
This paper is concerned with the tensions that arise when one juxtaposes one important liberal understanding of the nature and use of state power in circumstances of pluralism and (broadly) retributive accounts of punishment. The argument is that there are aspects of the liberal theory that seem to be in tension with aspects of retributive punishment, and that these tensions are difficult to avoid because of the attractiveness of precisely those features of each account. However, a proper understanding of both liberalism and retributive punishment allows us to dissolve some of the tensions whilst also bringing each position into sharper relief. The paper begins by introducing the liberal position and outlining the apparent tensions that may arise with retributive punishment. In so doing, there is also a brief discussion of how this debate relates to the more familiar dispute between legal moralists and their opponents. The paper then proceeds by considering each of the areas of tension in turn
Keywords Liberalism  Retributivism  Legal moralism  Impartialism  Punishment  Criminalization
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DOI 10.1007/s11572-012-9180-y
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References found in this work BETA
A Theory of Justice.John Rawls - 2009 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Philosophy and Rhetoric. Oxford University Press. pp. 133-135.
Political Liberalism: Expanded Edition.John Rawls - 2005 - Columbia University Press.
Justice as Impartiality.Brian M. Barry - 1995 - Oxford University Press.

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