Desert of What? On Murphy’s Reluctant Retributivism

Criminal Law and Philosophy 11 (1):161-173 (2017)
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Abstract

In Punishment and the Moral Emotions, Jeffrie Murphy rejects his earlier, strong endorsements of retributivism. Questioning both our motivations for embracing retributivism and our views about the basis of desert, he now describes himself as a “reluctant retributivist.” In this essay, I argue that Murphy should reject retributivism altogether. Even if we grant that criminals have negative desert, why should we suppose that it is desert of suffering? I argue that it is possible to defend desert-based theories of punishment that reject this view of the object of desert. I consider, but reject, expressivist versions of such a theory.

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Linda Radzik
Texas A&M University

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References found in this work

Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - Proceedings of the British Academy 48:187-211.
The Expressive Function of Punishment.Joel Feinberg - 1965 - The Monist 49 (3):397-423.
Persons and Punishment.Herbert Morris - 1968 - The Monist 52 (4):475-501.
Giving desert its due.Thomas M. Scanlon - 2013 - Philosophical Explorations 16 (2):101-116.
Desert.Owen McLeod - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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