Law and Philosophy 5 (3):393 - 416 (1986)

Philosophical accounts of punishment are primarily concerned with punishment by the (or: a) state. More specifically, they attempt to explain why the (a) state may justifiably penalize those who are judged to violate its laws and the conditions under which it is entitled to do so. But any full account of these matters must surely be grounded in an account of the nature and purpose of the state and the justification of state authority. Because they are not so grounded, deterrence and retributive theories are incomplete as they are typically formulated. The intuitions behind these theories can be satisfied in a variety of complete theories, i.e., theories that understand the justification of punishment in relation to the justification of state authority. A consequence of this is that at least some of the intuitions underlying deterrence and retributive theories can be satisfied at the same time by a given theory.
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DOI 10.1007/BF00240849
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