Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 3–12 | Cite as

Punishment, Jesters and Judges: a Response to Nathan Hanna

  • Bill WringeEmail author


Nathan Hanna has recently argued against a position I defend in a 2013 paper in this journal and in my 2016 book on punishment, namely that we can punish someone without intending to harm them. In this discussion note I explain why two alleged counterexamples to my view put forward by Hanna are not in fact counterexamples to any view I hold, produce an example which shows that, if we accept a number of Hanna’s own assumptions, punishment does not require an intention to harm, and discuss whether a definition and counter-example approach is the best way to proceed in the philosophy of punishment. I conclude with a brief exegetical discussion of H.L.A Hart’s Prolegomenon to the Principles of Punishment.


Punishment Harm H.L.A.Hart Conceptual analysis Folk theories 



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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Depatment of PhilosophyBilkent UniversityAnkaraTurkey

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