More on the Comparative Nature of Desert: Can a Deserved Punishment Be Unjust?

19 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2012 Last revised: 1 Oct 2015

Ronen Avraham

University of Texas at Austin - School of Law

Daniel Statman

University of Haifa - Department of Philosophy

Date Written: September 1, 2012

Abstract

Adam and Eve have the same record yet receive different punishment. Adam receives the punishment that they both deserve, whereas Eve receives a more lenient punishment. In this paper, we explore whether a deserved-but-unequal punishment, such as what Adam receives, can be just. We do this by explicating the conceptions of retributive justice that underlie both sides of the debate. We argue that inequality in punishment is disturbing mainly because of the disrespect it often expresses towards the offender receiving the harsher treatment, and also because it casts doubt on whether Adam got what he deserved. We suggest that when no disrespect is involved and when it is clear that the criminal got what he deserved, inequality is not worrisome.

Suggested Citation

Avraham, Ronen and Statman, Daniel, More on the Comparative Nature of Desert: Can a Deserved Punishment Be Unjust? (September 1, 2012). U of Texas Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 243; U of Texas Law, Law and Econ Research Paper No. 238. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2146749 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2146749

Ronen Avraham (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Austin - School of Law ( email )

727 East Dean Keeton Street
Austin, TX 78705
United States
(512) 232-1357 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.utexas.edu/law/faculty/profile.php?id=ra22397

Daniel Statman

University of Haifa - Department of Philosophy ( email )

Eshkol Tower, 19th Floor
Haifa 31905, 31905
Israel
+972-4-656-8343 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://philo.haifa.ac.il/staff/statman.htm

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