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

See all articles by Douglas Husak

Douglas Husak

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Department of Philosophy

Date Written: March 1, 2016

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Husak, Douglas N., What Do Criminals Deserve? (March 1, 2016). 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. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2788152

Douglas N. Husak (Contact Author)

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Department of Philosophy ( email )

106 Somerset Street, 5th Floor
Rutgers University
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
United States

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