Criminal Law and Philosophy

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 481–498 | Cite as

Fairness-Based Retributivism Reconsidered



In this paper, I defend fairness-based retributivism against two important objections, the no-benefit objection and the social injustice objection. I argue that the theory can defeat the no-benefit objection by developing an account of how crimes can be sources of unfairness by inflicting losses on people, and that it can blunt the social injustice objection by toning down the theory’s distributive aspirations. I conclude that fairness-based retributivism, contrary to received wisdom, merits further attention from legal and political philosophers.


Fairness Fair play Political obligation Punishment Retributivism 



Previous versions of this paper were presented to audiences at the Universities of Geneva, Gothenburg, Roskilde, Stockholm, and Uppsala. I am grateful for all the advice and comments I received on those occasions. The research is part of the project Fair-Play Retributivism and the Problem of Punishment, which is funded by the Swedish Research Council (Grant Number 421-2011-1559).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  2. 2.Institute for Future StudiesStockholmSweden

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