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Retributivism and Legal Moralism

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Abstract:

Abstract

This article examines whether a retributivist conception of punishment implies legal moralism and asks what liberalism implies about retributivism and moralism. It makes a case for accepting the weak retributivist thesis that culpable wrongdoing creates a pro tanto case for blame and punishment and the weak moralist claim that moral wrongdoing creates a pro tanto case for legal regulation. This weak moralist claim is compatible with the liberal claim that the legal enforcement of morality is rarely all‐thing‐considered desirable. Though weak moralism has some plausibility, it does not follow from weak retributivism if legitimate state functions are limited in certain ways.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9337.2012.00524.x

Publication date: December 1, 2012

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