Criminal Law and Philosophy

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 217–230 | Cite as

Political Neutrality and Punishment

Original Paper
  • 554 Downloads

Abstract

This paper is concerned with the tensions that arise when one juxtaposes one important liberal understanding of the nature and use of state power in circumstances of pluralism and (broadly) retributive accounts of punishment. The argument is that there are aspects of the liberal theory that seem to be in tension with aspects of retributive punishment, and that these tensions are difficult to avoid because of the attractiveness of precisely those features of each account. However, a proper understanding of both liberalism and retributive punishment allows us to dissolve some of the tensions whilst also bringing each position into sharper relief. The paper begins by introducing the liberal position and outlining the apparent tensions that may arise with retributive punishment. In so doing, there is also a brief discussion of how this debate relates to the more familiar dispute between legal moralists and their opponents. The paper then proceeds by considering each of the areas of tension in turn.

Keywords

Liberalism Retributivism Legal moralism Impartialism Punishment Criminalization 

References

  1. Ashworth, A. (1999). Principles of criminal law (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  2. Barry, B. (1995). Justice as impartiality: Volume 2 of a treatise on social justice. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  3. Barry, B. (2001). Culture and equality: An egalitarian critique of multiculturalism. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  4. Brubaker, S. C. (1988). Can liberals punish? The American Political Science Review, 82(3), 821–836.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Caney, S. (1998). Impartiality and liberal neutrality. In P. Kelly (Ed.), Impartiality, neutrality and justice (pp. 87–107). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Duff, R. A. (2001). Punishment, communication, and community. Studies in crime and public policy. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Duff, R. A. (2007), Answering for crime: responsibility and liability in the criminal law. Legal Theory Today. Oxford: Hart Publishing.Google Scholar
  8. Duff, A. (2010a). Perversions and subversions of criminal law. In A. Duff, et al. (Eds.), The boundaries of the criminal law (pp. 88–112). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Duff, A., et al. (2010). The boundaries of the criminal law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Duff, A. (2012). Relational reasons and the criminal law. In L. Green & B. Leiter (Eds.), Oxford studies in philosophy of law (Vol. 2). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Feinberg, J. (1987). Some Unswept Debris from the Hart-Devlin debate. Synthese, 72(2), 249–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Feinberg, J. (1990). The moral limits of the criminal law, Volume 4: Harmless Wrongdoing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hart, H. L. A. (1968). Punishment and responsibility: Essays in the philosophy of law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Kymlicka, W. (1989). Liberal individualism and liberal neutrality. Ethics, 99, 883–905.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Matravers, M. (1998). ‘What’s “Wrong” in contractualism?’. In P. Kelly (ed.), Impartiality, neutrality and justice: Re-reading Brian Barry’s Justice as Impartiality (pp. 108–119). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Matravers, M. (1999). ‘“What to Say?”—the communicative element in punishment and moral theory’. Punishment and political theory (pp. 108–123). Oxford: Hart Publishing.Google Scholar
  17. Matravers, M. (2000). Justice and punishment: The rationale of coercion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Matravers, M. (2011a). Political theory and the criminal law. In R. A. Duff & S. Green (Eds.), Philosophical foundations of the criminal law (pp. 67–82). New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Matravers, M. (2011b). Mad, bad, or faulty? Desert in distributive and retributive justice. In C. Knight & Z. Stemplowska (Eds.), Responsibility and distributive justice (pp. 136–151). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Matravers, M. (2011c). Is twenty-first century punishment post-desert? In M. Tonry (Ed.), Retributivism has a past: Has it a future?. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Matravers, M. Responsibility and the cultural defence. In W. Kymlicka, C. Lernested, & M. Matravers (Eds.), Cultural diversity and the criminal law. Oxford: Oxford University Press (forthcoming).Google Scholar
  22. Moore, M. (1997). Placing blame: A general theory of the criminal law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Murphy, J. (1995). Legal moralism and liberalism. Ariozona Law Review, 37, 73–93.Google Scholar
  24. Murphy, J. (2007). Legal moralism and retribution revisited. Criminal Law and Philosophy, 1(1), 5–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Rawls, J. (1971). A theory of justice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).Google Scholar
  26. Rawls, J. (2005). Political liberalism: Expanded Edition. Columbia Classics in Philosophy. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Ristroph, A. (2011). Third wave legal moralism. Arizona State Law Journal, 42, 1151–1172.Google Scholar
  28. Simester, A. P., & Sullivan, G. R. (2003). Criminal law: Theory and doctrine (2nd ed.). Oxford: Hart).Google Scholar
  29. Tadros, V. (2010). Criminalization and regulation. In A. Duff, et al. (Eds.), The boundaries of the criminal law (pp. 163–190). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Tadros, V. (2012). Wrongness and criminalization. In A. Marmor (Ed.), The Routledge companion to philosophy of law (pp. 157–173). London: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Morrell Centre for TolerationUniversity of YorkYorkUK

Personalised recommendations