David Alan Russell Wood
Melbourne Law School
August 16, 2010
Philosophy Compass, Volume 5/6, 2010
U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 486
Punishment involves deliberating harming individuals. How, then, if at all, is it to be justified? This, the first of three papers on the philosophy of punishment (see also “Punishment: Nonconsequentialism” and “Punishment: The Future”), examines attempts to justify the practice or institution according to its consequences. One claim is that punishment reduces crime, and hence the resulting harms. Another is that punishment functions to rehabilitate offenders. A third claim is that punishment (or some forms of punishment) can serve to make restitution to victims, and a fourth is that it can strengthen social values. The paper examines these claims, and finally considers pluralist theories which combine retributive and harm-reductive or utilitarian considerations. (Retributive theories are examined in their own right in “Punishment: Nonconsequentialism”).
Number of Pages in PDF File: 37
Keywords: punishment, consequentialism
JEL Classification: K00, K19, K49Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: August 16, 2010
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