Quinn on punishment and using persons as means

Law and Philosophy 15 (2):201 - 208 (1996)
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In The Right to Threaten and the Right to Punish, Warren Quinn justifies punishment on the ground that it can be derived from the rights of persons to protect themselves against crime. Quinn, however, denies that a right of self-protection justifies the punishment of an aggressor solely on the ground that such punishment deters others from harming the victim of that aggression or others. He believes that punishment so justified would constitute a morally objectionable instance of using the punished individual as a means. Contrary to Quinn, I argue that (1) an individual can, on the very ground of a right to self-protection that Quinn ultimately relies upon to justify punishment, justify the punishment of an individual as a means of deterring others from committing crimes; and that (2) an individual or individuals (including state officials) can, on the ground of vindicating the right of protection that others possess, justify the punishment of an individual as a means of deterring others from committing crimes.



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Michael Otsuka
Rutgers - New Brunswick

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