Introduction to ‘Retributivism: Essays on Theory and Policy’
RETRIBUTIVISM: ESSAYS ON THEORY AND POLICY, pp. V-XVI, Mark D. White, ed., Oxford University Press, 2011
12 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2011
Date Written: March 17, 2011
Retributivism – broadly defined as the view that punishment is justified and motivated by considerations of justice, rights, and desert, rather than by personal or societal consequences – holds a long-standing yet controversial position in legal and political philosophy. Critics deride it as inhumane, backward looking, and dogmatic, a perverse rationalization of vicious sentiments such as revenge and hatred. Supporters argue that it alone respects the demands of justice, maintains the balance between sacrifices made by all citizens, and acknowledges the inherent dignity and equality of all rational persons. The contemporary debate over retributivist punishment has become particularly vibrant in recent years, focusing increasingly on its political and economic, as well as philosophical and practical, aspects. This volume offers innovative perspectives on this debate from twelve prominent scholars that, in the hopes of the editor, will further the discussion of the theory and practice of retributive punishment and promote new areas of expansion for its study.
Keywords: Retributivism, Punishment, Justice, Law, Deontology, Kant, Hegel, Consequentialism, Capital Punishment
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