Office of Academic Resources
Chulalongkorn University
Chulalongkorn University

Home / Help

AuthorKleinig, John. author
TitlePunishment and Desert [electronic resource] / by John Kleinig
ImprintDordrecht : Springer Netherlands, 1973
Connect to
Descript 170 p. online resource


Superficial acquaintance with the literature on punishment leaves a fairly definite impression. There are two approaches to punishment - retributive and utilitarian - and while some attempts may be made to reconcile them, it is the former rather than the latter which requires the reconciliation. Taken by itself the retributive approach is primitive and unenlightened, falling short of the rational civilized humanitarian values which we have now acquired. Certainly this is the dominant impression left by 'popular' discussions of the SUbject. And retributive vs. utilitarian seems to be the mould in which most philosophical disยญ cussions are cast. The issues are far more complex than this. Punishment may be conยญ sidered in a great variety of contexts - legal, educational, parental, theological, informal, etc. - and in each of these contexts several imยญ portant moral questions arise. Approaches which see only a simple choice between retributivism and utilitarianism tend to obscure this variety and plurality. But even more seriously, the distinction between retributivism and utilitarianism is far from clear. That it reflects the traditional distinction between deontological and teleological apยญ proaches to ethics serves to transfer rather than to resolve the unยญ clarity. Usually it is said that retributive approaches seek to justify acts by reference to features which are intrinsic to them, whereas utilitarian approaches appeal to the consequences of such acts. This, however, makes assumptions about the individuation of acts which are difficult to justify


I. Moral Justification -- II. Definitions,Justification and Punishment -- a. โ{128}{152}Punishmentโ{128}{153} is an activity-word -- b. Punishment involves some imposition -- c. Punishment is meted out for moral wrongs -- d. Punishment is inflicted on offenders -- e. Must punishment be administered by an authority? -- f. Punishment as a moral notion -- III. The Concept of Desert -- a. The deserving -- b. The deserved -- c. The grounds of desert -- IV. Getting What One Deserves -- The authority to punish -- V. Desert, Punishment and Justice -- a. Justice vs. utility -- b. Justice and mercy -- c. Justice and forgiveness -- VI. Punishment and Responsibility -- a. Problems of determining responsibility -- b. Responsibility as alterability -- c. The elimination of responsibility -- d. Moral and legal responsibility -- VII. Getting as Much as One Deserves -- a. Scaling deserts -- b. Lex talionis -- c. An alternative -- d. Institutionalized penalties -- Index of Names -- Index of Subjects

Philosophy Philosophy Philosophy general


Office of Academic Resources, Chulalongkorn University, Phayathai Rd. Pathumwan Bangkok 10330 Thailand

Contact Us

Tel. 0-2218-2929,
0-2218-2927 (Library Service)
0-2218-2903 (Administrative Division)
Fax. 0-2215-3617, 0-2218-2907

Social Network


facebook   instragram