Journal article Open Access

Retributivism: Punishment and Justification

Deogaonkar Anant, R

The retributive principle is that offenders should be punished because and only because they have culpably done wrong. This is an instance of this more general principle of desert. We all have primary duties not to do the sort of acts that malum in se criminal statutes prohibit. We also have secondary duties to allow ourselves to be made to suffer if we have violated these primary duties. The trigger for these secondary duties is again our culpability in violating the primary duties that define wrongdoing. This article provides a brief overview of the key tenets of the most prevalent impure versions of retributivism: deontological, consequentialist, and mixed/hybrid. Each overview is followed by accounts, theories, and justifications. At the end the author concludes that no version of retributivism can serve as a complete theory of punishment.

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