What Do Criminals Deserve?
Kimberly K. Ferzan and Stephen J. Morse, eds.: Legal Moral, and Metaphysical Truths: The Philosophy of Michael S, Moore (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp.49-62
17 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2016
Date Written: March 1, 2016
I attempt to specify the precise role played by desert in a justification of state punishment. To this end, I contrast the questions that must be resolved from those that need not be addressed at all or cannot be answered to anyone's satisfaction. I argue that much can be learned about the justification of state punishment by focusing on situations in which persons react appropriately to culpable wrongdoing perpetrated by non-state actors. I conclude that the greatest difficulty for desert theorists is to explain why the deprivations and stigma legitimately inflicted by victims should take the form of hard treatment and censure imposed by the state. I offer a few inconclusive suggestions about how this latter problem might be solved.
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