Skip to main content

T.H. Green's Theory of Punishment

Buy Article:

$23.57 + tax (Refund Policy)

Green agrees with Kant on the abstract character of moral law as categorical imperatives and that intentional dispositions are central to a moral justification of punishment. The central problem with Kant's account is that we are unable to know these dispositions beyond a reasonable estimate. Green offers a practical alternative, positing moral law as an ideal to be achieved, but not immediately enforceable through positive law. Moral and positive law are bridged by Green's theory of the common good through the dialectic of morality. Thus, Green appears to offer an alternative that remains committed to Kantian morality whilst taking proper stock of our cognitive limitations. Unfortunately, Green fails to unravel fully Kant's dichotomy of moral and positive law that mirrors Green's solution, although Green offers a number of improvements, such as the importance of the community in establishing rights and linking the severity of punishment to the extent that a criminal act threatens the continued maintenance of a system of rights.

Keywords: German Idealism; Kant; T.H. Green; categorical imperatives; common good; crime; intentionality; moral law; natural law; positive law; punishment; retributivism; rights; utilitarianism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dept of Philosophy, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 2003

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content