Virtue and Inculpation

58 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2020

See all articles by Kyron Huigens

Kyron Huigens

Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

Date Written: 1995


This article sets forth a general theory of the justification of legal punishment based on virtue ethics and republican political theory. Criminal law serves not only to deter and take retribution, but also to inculcate virtue. This theory explains why, for example, people do not consciously abide by law. They just do, because they have no desire to do things that are contrary to the criminal law. This conception of virtue as well-ordered desire is distinctively Aristotelian. The political justification for inculcating virtue by means of criminal law is the classic republican conception of government as being devoted specifically to the inculcation of virtue.

Keywords: criminal law, virtue, Aristotle, republicanism

Suggested Citation

Huigens, Kyron, Virtue and Inculpation (1995). Harvard Law Review, Vol. 108, No. 7, p. 1423, 1995, Available at SSRN:

Kyron Huigens (Contact Author)

Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law ( email )

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