Justice and Punishment: The Rationale of Coercion

Justice and Punishment: The Rationale of Coercion

Justice and Punishment: The Rationale of Coercion

Justice and Punishment: The Rationale of Coercion

Synopsis

'Brave and original' -Robert Sugden, Times Higher Education Supplement'Matravers is a careful critic of the various justifications of punishment' -MillenniumThis book aims to answer the question: 'why, and by what right,do some people punish others?' With his groundbreaking new theory, the author argues that the justification of punishment must be embedded in a larger political and moral theory. The author uses the problem of punishment to undermine contemporary accounts of justice.

Excerpt

The purpose of the first three chapters is, in part, to examine a number of current approaches to punishment with a view to investigating their plausibility. As important, the argument attempts to establish that the justification of punishment can only be found within an account of what justifies the having of rules that threaten sanctions in response to non-compliance and that this question can only be answered through considering the nature of the rules themselves. Finally, the argument attempts to draw attention to those parts of the two main approaches to punishment that need to be retained in any convincing justification of the practice.

Given that what is needed is a theory of punishment grounded in a broader theory of morality or of justice, the purpose of the next three chapters is to examine recent theories of that kind. One reason for this should be clear. What is needed is an account of the rules that regulate social cooperation (and that threaten punishment) so it makes sense to look at the justification of such rules. in addition, there are reasons for this strategy that arise from the puzzle mentioned in the Introduction: in the last thirty or so years political philosophy has undergone a transformation driven initially by Rawls's enquiry into distributive justice. the literature on distributive justice continues to grow and the concept remains dominant in the discipline. Yet with very few exceptions (and those mostly in the fair play school) these developments have not been extended to retributive justice (see Chapter 2 n. 17), and distributive justice theorists themselves have, for the most part, not considered retributive questions. Over the course of the next two chapters it is argued that (i) impartialist accounts of distributive justice cannot simply avoid the problem of punishment (the question of retributive justice); and (ii) once the problem of punishment is introduced its examination reveals faults in the impartialist approach as a whole, whether it is aimed at the issue of distributive justice or that of retributive

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.