Victor's Justice: The Next Best Moral Theory of Criminal Punishment?

23 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2012

Date Written: October 4, 2012


In this essay, I address one methodological aspect of Victor Tadros's The Ends of Harm - namely, the moral character of the theory of criminal punishment it defends. First, I offer a brief reconstruction of this dimension of the argument, highlighting some of its distinctive strengths while drawing attention to particular inconsistencies. I then argue that Tadros ought to refrain from developing this approach in terms of an overly narrow understanding of the morality of harming as fully unified and reconciled under the lone heading of justice. In a final and most critical section, I offer arguments for why this reconciliatory commitment, further constrained by a misplaced emphasis on corrective justice, generates major problems for his general deterrence account of the core justification of criminal punishment.

Keywords: moral justification of punishment, state punishment, criminal law, justice, corrective justice, general deterrence, incommensurability

Suggested Citation

Tanguay-Renaud, François, Victor's Justice: The Next Best Moral Theory of Criminal Punishment? (October 4, 2012). Law and Philosophy, Forthcoming, Osgoode CLPE Research Paper No. 32/2012, Available at SSRN: or

François Tanguay-Renaud (Contact Author)

Osgoode Hall Law School, York University ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3

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