Why Punish?

Why Punish?

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In this look at justifications for punishment, the author encourages people to take an "amphibian" approach to the issues: to walk on dry land and look at the realities of sentencing and to swim in the deep waters, where moral philosophers lurk, exploring the fundamental concerns. He argues that the modern retributive theory of punishment has not solved the problems of the classical utilitarian approach and has indeed created new ones of its own. Having researched these problems and discussed them with judges, magistrates, jurists, philosophers and prisoners, he distinguishes rhetoric from hard reasoning and shows that attempts at intellectual compromises between utilitarians and retributivists do not stand up to close examination. The book also deals with aspects normally left to theologians, such as remorse and forgiveness, and with the humanitarian movement.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 182 pages
  • 129.54 x 193.04 x 15.24mm | 113.4g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford Paperbacks
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0192892193
  • 9780192892195

Review quote

"As one would expect, points are made with the elegance and incisiveness that we have come to expect from Nigel Walker as his stock-in-trade....A delight to read."--Philip Bean, Loughborough Universityshow more

Table of contents

Introduction: justifying sentences. Part 1 Utilitarian aims: deterring others; educating or satisfying others; elimination and incapacitation; correction. Part 2 Moral objections: human sacrifices?; the sacrosanct personality. Part 3 Retributivism: blaming and excusing?; justifying retribution; a rule-explanation?; the negative principle; commensurability and proportionality; unintended punishment; reparation, repentance, forgiveness and mercy. Part 4 Attempts to compromise: jigsaw, eclectic and hybrid compromises; humanitarian limits; why compromise?; the argument.show more

Rating details

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