The Limits of Moral Argument: Reason and Conviction in Tadros’ Philosophy of Punishment

Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 13-38

Journal of Law, Ethics, and Philosophy 3:30 (2015)

43 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2013 Last revised: 17 Jul 2020

See all articles by Eric D. Blumenson

Eric D. Blumenson

Suffolk University Law School

Victor Tadros

University of Warwick - School of Law

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

For generations, philosophers of punishment have sought to revise or combine established theories of punishment in a way that could reconcile the utilitarian aims of punishment with the demands of justice. Victor Tadros’ recent work addresses the same problem, but answers it with an entirely original theory of punishment based on the duties criminals acquire by committing their crimes.

The unexpected appearance of a new rationale for punishment has already inspired a robust dialogue between Tadros and his critics on many of the individual claims that, linked together, comprise his argument. Eric Blumenson’s critique focuses instead on Tadros’ theory as a whole and the methodology he uses to support it. It proposes that that Tadros’ argumentative strategy can’t justify his rationale by virtue of (1) the extent and complexity of the moral reasoning he invokes, (2) the counter-intuitive results his theory produces in an array of specific cases, and (3) the superiority of a negative-retributivist account in which moral reasoning and intuitive judgments, and the principles and applications that flow from each, are coherent and mutually supportive.

Victor Tadros responds to these arguments in an essay following Blumenson’s critique.

Keywords: Punishment, Retributivism, Tadros, Blumenson, Prison, Criminal Justice

Suggested Citation

Blumenson, Eric and Tadros, Victor, The Limits of Moral Argument: Reason and Conviction in Tadros’ Philosophy of Punishment (2015). Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 13-38, Journal of Law, Ethics, and Philosophy 3:30 (2015), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2336245 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2336245

Eric Blumenson (Contact Author)

Suffolk University Law School ( email )

120 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108-4977
United States
(617) 305-1967 (Phone)
(617) 305-3087 (Fax)

Victor Tadros

University of Warwick - School of Law ( email )

Gibbet Hill Road
Coventry CV4 7AL, CV4 7AL
United Kingdom
(44) 024 76523075 (Phone)
(44) 024 76524105 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/staff/academic/tadros

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