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RetributivismEssays on Theory and Policy$
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Mark D. White

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199752232

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199752232.001.0001

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Kant, Retributivism, and Civic Respect

Kant, Retributivism, and Civic Respect

(p.107) 6 Kant, Retributivism, and Civic Respect

Sarah Holtman

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on recasting the retributivism of Immanuel Kant, grounding it in his demands for civic respect and political equality. Historically, many have thought of Kant’s account of the purpose and justification of punishment for legal offenses as a paradigm example of thoroughgoing retributivism. The chapter offers a detailed examination of the justification Kant provides for legal punishment, the purposes he recognizes, the protections he demands, and the principles he enunciates to guide the structuring of a penal system. What Kant endorses, it suggests, is a modern retributivist penal theory focused on civic respect for persons as citizens, with implications not only for institutions, laws, and policies, but for citizen attitudes and commitments. To illustrate significant differences between this view and classical retributivism, the chapter applies it to the famous Miranda decision and warnings, as well as a recent case of punishment perceived to be overly lenient.

Keywords:   retributivism, punishment, justice, Immanuel Kant, civic respect, Miranda, penal system, political equality

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