, Volume 32, Issue 2-3, pp 159-175

Can Self-Defense Justify Punishment?

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Abstract

This piece is a review essay on Victor Tadros’s The Ends of Harm. Tadros rejects retributive desert but believes punishment can be justified instrumentally without succumbing to the problems of thoroughgoing consequentialism and endorsing using people as means. He believes he can achieve these results through extension of the right of self-defense. I argue that Tadros fails in this endeavor: he has a defective account of the means principle; his rejection of desert leads to gross mismatches of punishment and culpability; and he cannot account for punishment of inchoate crimes.

I thank Kimberly Ferzan for her helpful comments.