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Hegel's Complete Views on Crime and Punishment

  • ANDREW KOMASINSKI (a1)
Abstract

In this article, I argue that Hegel's complete and mature view of crime and punishment is more robust than many interpretations of the Unrecht passage in the ‘Abstract Right’ section of Hegel's Elements of the Philosophy of Right suggest. First, I explain the value of revisiting the interpretation of Hegel as a simple retributionist in the contemporary debate. Then, I look at Hegel's treatment of crime and punishment in the section on abstract right to show the role of punishment in Hegel's account. Next, I argue that this needs to be situated in Hegel's broader social philosophy and that we can accomplish this by looking at how the Unrecht passage fits in the Elements of the Philosophy of Right’s dialectical structure. I do so by building on the sections on civil society and state in the part of Elements of the Philosophy of Right dealing with ethical life (Sittlichkeit), which include considerations of prevention and rehabilitation. I contend that this analysis reveals an account of punishment as more complicated than simple retribution.

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Journal of the American Philosophical Association
  • ISSN: 2053-4477
  • EISSN: 2053-4485
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-american-philosophical-association
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