Punishing the innocent — unintentionally

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 20 (1-4):45 – 65 (1977)
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Abstract

The intentional punishment of the innocent is ordinarily claimed to be a special problem for utilitarian theories of punishment. The unintentional punishment of the innocent is a problem for any theory of punishment which holds that the guilty should be punished. This paper examines the criteria that are relevant to a determination of the appropriate probability of punishment mistakes for a society, and argues that this is the kind of moral problem for which utilitarian judgments, as opposed to considerations of justice, are most appropriate. To illustrate some of the trade-offs involved, the paper employs some hypothetical data.

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Citations of this work

Law and the Entitlement to Coerce.Robert C. Hughes - 2013 - In Wilfrid J. Waluchow & Stefan Sciaraffa (eds.), Philosophical Foundations of the Nature of Law. Oxford University Press. pp. 183.

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References found in this work

Whatever the Consequences.Jonathan Bennett - 1966 - Analysis 26 (3):83 - 102.
Saving Life and Taking Life.Richard L. Trammell - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (5):131-137.
Criminal Attempt and the Theory of the Law of Crimes.Lawrence C. Becker - 1974 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 3 (3):262-294.

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