Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thom Brooks on "Kantian Punishment and Retributivism"

Thom Brooks, "Kantian Punishment and Retributivism: A Reply to Clark," Ratio 18(2) (2005): 237-45. (subscription-only)


In this journal, Michael Clark defends a "A Non-Retributive Kantian Approach to Punishment". I argue that both Kant's and Rawls's theories of punishment are retributivist to some extent. It may then be slightly misleading to say that by following the views of Kant and Rawls, in particular, as Clark does, we can develop a nonretributivist theory of punishment. This matter is further complicated by the fact Clark nowhere addresses Rawls's views on punishment: Rawls endorses a mixed theory combining retributive and utilitarian features. Of those discussed by Clark, only Scanlon defends the use of nonretributivist punishments. Yet, here too Clark nowhere addresses Scanlon's views on punishment. Thus, Clark's views on retributive punishment are highly problematic.

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