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Punishment, Compensation, and Law
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  • Page extent: 274 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.57 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 340/.11
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: K250 .R45 2005
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Obedience (Law)
    • Law enforcement
    • Punishment--Philosophy
    • Compensation (Law)

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521846691 | ISBN-10: 0521846692)

This book is the first comprehensive study of the meaning and measure of enforceability. While we have long debated what restraints should govern the conduct of our social life, we have paid relatively little attention to the question of what it means to make a restraint enforceable. Focusing on the enforceability of legal rights but also addressing the enforceability of moral rights and social conventions, Mark Reiff explains how we use punishment and compensation to make restraints operative in the world. After describing the various means by which restraints may be enforced, Reiff explains how the sufficiency of enforcement can be measured, and he presents a unified theory of deterrence, retribution, and compensation that shows how these aspects of enforceability are interconnected. Reiff then applies his theory of enforceability to illuminate a variety of real-world problem situations.

• Was the first and only comprehensive treatment of the problem of enforceability • New and unified theory of deterrence, retribution, and compensation and their interrelationship • Applies to all forms of restraint that govern our social life


1. The means of enforcement; 2. The goals of enforcement; 3. Measuring enforceability in the pre-violation state of affairs; 4. Measuring enforceability in the post-violation state of affairs; 5. The relationship between pre-violation expectations and post-violation practice; 6. Limitations on the means of enforcement; 7. Special problems with legal remedies; 8. The value of nominal rights.


Review of the hardback: 'Mark Reiff's … [book] … is original. I intend this remark as high praise. … Since Reiff poses questions and provides answers that are new, any legal philosopher interested in these matters will be stimulated by his unusual perspective. … Reiff unquestionably has taken a novel approach to many important but frequently unaddressed problems in the philosophy of law.' Douglas Husak, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

Review of the hardback: 'Reiff's book is as ambitious as it is important [and] as much a contribution to moral and political philosophy as to the philosophy of law.' Michael Davis, Ethics

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