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Punishment and Repentance

Philosophy 81 (2006), pp.279-322.

49 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2015  

John Tasioulas

King's College London – The Dickson Poon School of Law

Date Written: January 1, 2006


This paper presents an original version of the communicative theory of punishment. On this view, the overarching aim of punishment is the communication of justified censure. This version of the theory differs from others in being pluralistic; in particular, it allows considerations of mercy, in addition to considerations of retributive desert, to play a central role in the justification of punishment and the determination of its extent. The paper concludes with some thoughts on repentance as a ground for mercy within the theory.

Keywords: punishment, mercy, retributive justice, communicative theory, repentance

Suggested Citation

Tasioulas, John, Punishment and Repentance (January 1, 2006). Philosophy 81 (2006), pp.279-322.. Available at SSRN:

John Tasioulas (Contact Author)

King's College London – The Dickson Poon School of Law ( email )

Somerset House East Wing
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

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