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IS BRADLEY A RETRIBUTIVIST?

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Perhaps the least controversial area of F.H. Bradley's writings relates to his views on punishment. Commentators universally recognize Bradley's theory of punishment as a retributivist theory of punishment. This article challenges the received wisdom. I argue that Bradley does not endorse retributivism as commonly understood. Instead, he defends the view that punishment is non-retributivist and serves the end of societal maintenance. Moreover, Bradley defends this view consistently from Ethical Studies to later work on punishment. Instead of holding a theory of punishment largely unique amongst British Idealists of his time, Bradley's views on punishment are far more consistent than previously thought.
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Keywords: Bosanquet; Bradley; God; Hegel; Oakeshott; der Staat; societas

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Politics, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU.

Publication date: 2011-01-01

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