The passions of punishment

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 90 (2):232-250 (2009)
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I criticize an increasingly popular set of arguments for the justifiability of punishment. Some philosophers try to justify punishment by appealing to what Peter Strawson calls the reactive attitudes – emotions like resentment, indignation, remorse and guilt. These arguments fail. The view that these emotions commit us to punishment rests on unsophisticated views of punishment and of these emotions and their associated behaviors. I offer more sophisticated accounts of punishment, of these emotions and of their associated behaviors that are consistent with Abolitionism, the view that punishment is unjustified.

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Nathan Hanna
Drexel University


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