Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2200814
 


 



Kant's Theory of Punishment


Thom Brooks


Durham University

July 15, 2003

Utilitas, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 206 - 224, 2003

Abstract:     
The most widespread interpretation amongst contemporary theorists of Kant's theory of punishment is that it is retributivist. On the contrary, I will argue there are very different senses in which Kant discusses punishment. He endorses retribution for moral law transgressions and consequentialist considerations for positive law violations. When these standpoints are taken into consideration, Kant's theory of punishment is more coherent and unified than previously thought. This reading uncovers a new problem in Kant's theory of punishment. By assuming a potential offender's intentional disposition as Kant does without knowing it for certain, we further exacerbate the opportunity for misdiagnosis - although the assumption of individual criminal culpability may be all we can reasonably be expected to use. While this difficulty is not lost on Kant, it continues to remain with us today, making Kant's theory of punishment far more relevant than previously thought.

Keywords: Kant, retribution, retributivism, deontology, consequentialism, punishment, reasonable doubt, natural law

JEL Classification: K00

Accepted Paper Series


Not Available For Download

Date posted: January 16, 2013  

Suggested Citation

Brooks, Thom, Kant's Theory of Punishment (July 15, 2003). Utilitas, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 206 - 224, 2003. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2200814

Contact Information

Thom Brooks (Contact Author)
Durham University ( email )
Durham Law School
Durham University
Durham, County Durham DH1 3ET
United Kingdom
+441913342800 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.dur.ac.uk/law/staff/?mode=staff&id=11140
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