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Should retributivists prefer pre-punishment?

Tomlin, P. (2015) Should retributivists prefer pre-punishment? Social Theory and Practice, 41 (2). pp. 275-285. ISSN 0037-802X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.5840/soctheorpract201541215


Some philosophers believe that we can, in theory, justifiably pre-punish people – that is, punish them for a crime before they have committed that crime. In particular, it has been claimed that retributivists ought (in principle) to accept pre-punishment. The question of whether pre-punishment can be justified has sparked an interesting and growing philosophical debate. In this paper I look at a slightly different question: whether retributivists who accept that pre-punishment can be justified should prefer (ordinary) post-punishment or pre-punishment, or see them (in principle) as on a par. The answer is complex: asking this question brings to light unrecognised distinctions within both retributivism and pre-punishment, giving us four different answers to the question, depending on what kind of retributivism and what kind of pre-punishment are combined. Surprisingly, given that it is usually presented as a second best, to be pursued only when post-punishment is unavailable, some combinations will find pre-punishment preferable.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Politics, Economics and International Relations > Politics and International Relations
ID Code:38660
Publisher:Florida State University Department of Philosophy


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