A non-utilitarian approach to punishment

Abstract

Although the view that punishment is to be justified on utilitarian grounds has obvious appeal, an examination of utilitarianism reveals that, consistently and accurately interpreted, it dictates unjust punishments which are unacceptable to the common moral consciousness. In this rule?utilitarianism is no more satisfactory than is act?utilitarianism. Although the production of the greatest good, or the greatest happiness, of the greatest number is obviously a relevant consideration when determining which punishments may properly be inflicted, the question as to which punishment is just is a distinct and more basic question and one which must be answered before we can determine which punishments are morally permissible. That a retributivist theory, which is a particular application of a general principle of justice, can account more satisfactorily for our notion of justice in punishment is a positive reason in its support

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Citations of this work

Consequentialism.Walter Sinnott-Armstrong - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Act Utilitarianism.Ben Eggleston - 2014 - In Ben Eggleston & Dale E. Miller (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Utilitarianism. Cambridge University Press. pp. 125-145.
Contractualism.Jussi Suikkanen - 2020 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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