Guit, Anger, and Retribution

Legal Theory 16 (1):59-76 (2010)
Abstract
This article focuses primarily on the emotion of guilt as providing a justification for retributive legal punishment. In particular, I challenge the claim according to which guilt can function as part of our epistemic justification of positive retributivism, that is, the view that wrongdoing is both necessary and sufficient to justify punishment. I show that the argument to this conclusion rests on two premises: (1) to feel guilty typically involves the judgment that one deserves punishment; and (2) those who feel guilty after wrongdoing are more virtuous (or less vicious) than those who do not. I shall argue that premise (1) is false on both empirical and conceptual grounds and that there are no particularly good grounds supporting this premise (2). Finally, I consider and reject the claim that anger, as opposed to guilt, can afford the type of epistemic justification needed by positive retributivism.
Keywords Guilt, Anger, Emotion, Criminal Law, Punishment, Retribution
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DOI 10.1017/S1352325210000066
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References found in this work BETA
The Emotions.Nico H. Frijda - 1986 - Cambridge University Press.
The Moralistic Fallacy: On the "Appropriateness" of Emotions.Justin D'Arms & Daniel Jacobson - 2000 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (1):65-90.
Emotions and Formal Objects.Fabrice Teroni - 2007 - Dialectica 61 (3):395-415.
The Moralistic Fallacy: On the ”Appropriateness' of Emotions.Justin D'Arms & Daniel Jacobson - 2000 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (1):65--90.
Punishment, Communication and Community.Antony Duff - 2003 - In Derek Matravers & Jonathan E. Pike (eds.), Debates in Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Anthology. Routledge, in Association with the Open University.

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