Punishment and Coherence

Filosofia e Questioni Pubbliche (Philosophy and Public Issues (New Series)), Vol. 5, No. 1, p. 43-56, 2015

Villanova Law/Public Policy Research Paper No. 2016-1031

18 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2016

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Dempsey, Michelle Madden, Punishment and Coherence (2015). Filosofia e Questioni Pubbliche (Philosophy and Public Issues (New Series)), Vol. 5, No. 1, p. 43-56, 2015, Villanova Law/Public Policy Research Paper No. 2016-1031, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2858357

Michelle Madden Dempsey (Contact Author)

Villanova University School of Law ( email )

299 N. Spring Mill Road
Villanova, PA 19085
United States

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