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  • Cited by 3
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    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Corlett, J. Angelo 2013. Pacifism and Punishment. Philosophia, Vol. 41, Issue. 4, p. 945.

    Shuster, Arthur 2011. Kant on the Role of the Retributive Outlook in Moral and Political Life. The Review of Politics, Vol. 73, Issue. 03, p. 425.

    Tuckness, Alex 2010. Retribution and Restitution in Locke’s Theory of Punishment. The Journal of Politics, Vol. 72, Issue. 3, p. 720.


Making Sense of Retributivism

  • J. Angelo Corlett (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 January 2001

This paper explicates and challenges John Rawl's argument concerning a rule-utilitarian theory of punishment. In so doing, it argues in favour of a retributivist theory of punishment, one that seeks to justify, not only particular forms of punishment, but the institution of punishment itself. Some crucial objections to retributivism are then considered: one regarding the adverse effects of punishment on the innocent, another concerning proportional punishment, a third pertaining to vengeance and retribution, a Marxian concern with retributive punishment, and a concern with the concept of desert. Each objection is deflected in order to ward-off what seem to be the most serious criticisms of a retributivist view of punishment and to clarify the depth of the retributivist position.

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  • ISSN: 0031-8191
  • EISSN: 1469-817X
  • URL: /core/journals/philosophy
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