Punishment and Coherence
Filosofia e Questioni Pubbliche (Philosophy and Public Issues (New Series)), Vol. 5, No. 1, p. 43-56, 2015
18 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2016
Date Written: 2015
This article presents a largely positive commentary on Thom Brooks' book, Punishment (London: Routledge 2012), arguing that his theory of punishment particularly appealing in virtue of its embrace of penal pluralism (that is, the view that a plurality of reasons may weigh in favor of punishment and thus we ought not limit ourselves to considerations grounded only in one set of considerations such as deterrence, retributivism, etc.). The article goes on to argue that Brooks' search for coherence amongst this plurality of reasons may be unnecessary, and that perhaps a better approach is what I refer to as a "Pick-a-Mix" theory - one that takes into consideration whatever reasons might be relevant to justifying punishment, without worrying about the degree of coherence amongst those considerations. However, if we grant Brooks' assumption that coherence is an important aspect of a pluralistic justification of punishment, then (I argue) that the expressive function of punishment might provide the coherence Brooks so prizes.
Keywords: Criminal Law, Punishment, Expressive Function of Punishment, Penal Pluralism, Pick-A-Mix Theories of Punishment, Coherence, Practical Reason, Auxiliary Reasons,Thom Brookes
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