Punishing the innocent — unintentionally

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


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.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,247

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Retributivism and Fallible Systems of Punishment.George Schedler - 2011 - Criminal Justice Ethics 30 (3):240-266.
Punishing the Guilty, Not Punishing the Innocent.Richard Lippke - 2010 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 7 (4):462-488.
Not Penal Substitution but Vicarious Punishment.Mark C. Murphy - 2009 - Faith and Philosophy 26 (3):253-273.
Making Sense of Retributivism.J. Angelo Corlett - 2001 - Philosophy 76 (1):77-110.
Corlett on Kant, Hegel, and Retribution.Thom Brooks - 2001 - Philosophy 76 (4):561-580.
Punishment: Consequentialism.David Wood - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (6):455-469.
Retributive Parsimony.Richard L. Lippke - 2009 - Res Publica 15 (4):377-395.
Divine Punishment and Reconciliation.J. Brenton Stearns - 1981 - Journal of Religious Ethics 9 (1):118-130.


Added to PP

69 (#171,760)

6 months
4 (#171,088)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

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.

Add more citations

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.

Add more references