The Ethics of Proportionate Punishment: A Critical Investigation

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Springer Science & Business Media, 2004 - Law - 220 pages
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The philosophical discussion of state punishment is well on in years. In contrast with a large number of ethical problems which are concerned with right and wrong in relation to a narrowly specified area of human life and practice and which hav- at least since the early 70’s - been regarded as a legitimate part of philosophical thinking constituting the area of applied ethics, reflections on punishment can be traced much further back in the history of western philosophy. This is not surprising. That the stately mandated infliction of death, suffering, or deprivation on citizens should be met with hesitation - from which ethical reflections may depar- seems obvious. Such a practice certainly calls for some persuasive justification. It is therefore natural that reflective minds have for a long time devoted attention to punishment and that the question of how a penal system can be justified has constituted the central question in philosophical discussion. Though it would certainly be an exaggeration to claim that the justification question is the only aspect of punishment with which philosophers have been concerned, there has in most periods been a clear tendency to regard this as the cardinal issue. Comparatively much less attention has been devoted to the more precise questions of how, and how much, criminals should be punished for their respective wrong-doings. This may, of course, be due to several reasons.
 

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Contents

Why consider proportionalism?
1
A brief overview
2
Notes
10
Proportionalism and its Justifications
11
What is proportionalism?
12
The simple desert theory
16
The expressionist theory
19
The fairness Theory
36
Resorting to mercy
116
Conclusion
118
Notes
120
The Anchor Problem
123
Ratio interval and ordinal matchings
125
Anchor points and human dignity
131
Desert prevention and parsimony
142
Conclusion
148

A nonfoundationalist approach
44
Conclusion
50
Notes
53
The Seriousness of Crimes 1 The harm dimension 2 Culpability
59
Recidivism
77
Proportionalist answers
83
A fairnesstheoretic approach
87
Conclusion
93
Notes
95
The Severity of Punishments
101
The sensibility challenge
102
Delimitating punitive suffering
109
2
150
Proportionalism and Penal Practice
155
Conclusion
178
6
183
10
191
14
192
19
194
Conclusion
195
36
211
93
217
150
218
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