Bedau (Hugo) & Erin (Kelly)
Source: Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, 2003-15
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction

  1. The concept of punishment — its definition — and its practical application and justification during the past half-century have shown a marked drift away from efforts to reform and rehabilitate offenders in favor of retribution and incarceration. Punishment in its very conception is now acknowledged to be an inherently retributive practice, whatever may be the further role of retribution as a (or the) justification or goal of punishment.
  2. A liberal justification of punishment would proceed by showing that society needs the threat and the practice of punishment, because the goal of social order cannot be achieved otherwise and because it is unfair to expect victims of criminal aggression to bear the cost of their victimization.
  3. Constraints on the use of threatened punishments (such as due process of law) are of course necessary, given the ways in which authority and power can be abused. Such a justification involves both deontological as well as consequentialist considerations.

  1. Background
  2. Theory of Punishment
  3. Consequentialist or Deontological Justification
  4. Liberal Justification
  5. Conclusion
  6. Bibliography


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