Law and Philosophy

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 3-31

First online:

Retributivism In Extremis

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I defend two objections to Tadros’s views on punishment. First, I allege that his criticisms of retributivism are persuasive only against extreme versions that provide no justificatory place for instrumentalist objectives. His attack fails against a version of retributivism that recognizes a chasm between what offenders deserve and the allthings-considered permissibility of treating offenders as they deserve. Second, I critique Tadros’s duty view – his alternative theory of punishment. Inter alia, I object that he derives principles from highly unusual examples of self-defense he subsequently tries to apply to ordinary cases of punishment.