Punishing 'Dirty Hands'—Three Justifications

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (4):879-897 (2013)

Authors
Stephen De Wijze
University of Manchester
Abstract
Should those who get dirty hands be punished? There is strong disagreement among even those who support the existence of such scenarios. The problem arises because the paradoxical nature of dirty hands - doing wrong to do right - renders the standard normative justifications for punishment unfit for purpose. The Consequentialist, Retributivist and Communicative approaches cannot accommodate the idea that an action can be right, all things considered, but nevertheless also a categorical wrong. This paper argues that punishment is indeed appropriate for those who dirty their hands and that there are three normative justifications that can be used to support this claim. These are the justifications from ‘Catharsis’, ‘Recognition of Evil Suffered’ and ‘Causal Responsibility’. Together they provide the sui generis justifications for punishing dirty hands
Keywords Dirty Hands  Punishment  Justification  Michael Walzer
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-012-9396-x
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References found in this work BETA

Shame and Necessity.Bernard Williams - 1992 - University of California Press.
Punishment and Responsibility.H. L. A. Hart - 1968 - Philosophy 45 (172):162-162.

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Citations of this work BETA

Judicial Discretion and the Problem of Dirty Hands.Daniel Tigard - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (1):177-192.
Can Our Hands Stay Clean?Christina Nick - 2019 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (4):925-940.

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