A Kantian Critique of Kant's Theory of Punishment

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

In contrast to the traditional view of Kant as apure retributivist, the recent interpretations ofKant's theory of punishment (for instance Byrd's)propose a mixed theory of retributivism and generalprevention. Although both elements are literallyright, I try to show the shortcomings of each. I thenargue that Kant's theory of punishment is notconsistent with his own concept of law. Thus I proposeanother justification for punishment: specialdeterrence and rehabilitation. Kant's critique ofutilitarianism does not affect this alternative, whichmoreover has textual support in Kant and is fullyconsistent with his concept of law.

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