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Punishment: Political, Not Moral

Brooks, Thom (2011). "Punishment: Political, Not Moral," New Criminal Law Review 14: 427 - 438.

Posted: 20 Feb 2011 Last revised: 15 Jan 2013

Thom Brooks

Durham University

Date Written: February 16, 2011


Alan Brudner’s Punishment and Freedom is a remarkable contribution to liberal and penal theory offering a well-argued and compelling theory of “legal retributivism.” This theory is an improved account of retributivism as alternative retributivist theories are thought to incorporate a problematic view of morality which only legal retributivism can overcome. While I agree with much of Brudner’s Hegelian-inspired account, I believe that it could be even further protected from problems facing retributivist theories more generally if he took greater account of insights into penal theory offered by British Hegelians. This article will explain what these insights are and how they might usefully inform Brudner’s legal retributivism and further increase its attractiveness.

Keywords: punishment, freedom, retribution, retributivism, mixed theory, British Hegelians, British Idealism, Green, Seth, Hegel, Brudner, Kant, Brooks

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K14, K19, K49

Suggested Citation

Brooks, Thom, Punishment: Political, Not Moral (February 16, 2011). Brooks, Thom (2011). "Punishment: Political, Not Moral," New Criminal Law Review 14: 427 - 438.. Available at SSRN: or

Thom Brooks (Contact Author)

Durham University ( email )

Durham Law School
Durham University
Durham, County Durham DH1 3ET
United Kingdom
+441913344365 (Phone)


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