Justice and Punishment: The Rationale of Coercion

Hardcover | August 1, 2000

byMatt Matravers

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This book aims to answer the question: 'why, and by what right do some people punish others?' The author argues that the justification of punishment must be embedded in a substantive political and moral theory. Matravers questions why it is that recent theories of distributive justice have hadso little to say about the punishment and retributive justice. His answer is that contemporary theories of justice cannot explain the relationship of justice and morality more broadly conceived. As this is also the relationship that a theory of punishment needs to explain, it is in examining theproblem of punishment that the limitations of contemporary theories of justice are most starkly exposed. Moreover, the limitations are such as to undermine these accounts of justice. The claim is that it is through the discussion of punishment that the inadequacies of contemporary theories ofjustice is demonstrated and it is therefore through the discussion of punishment that those inadequacies can be rectified. Matravers argues for a genuinely constructivist account of morality-constructivist in that it rejects any idea of objective, mind-independent moral values, and seeks instead to construct morality from non-moral human concerns and human wills, and genuinely constructivist in that, in contrast to thefaux constructivisim of Rawls and cognate approaches, it does not take as a premise the equal moral worth of persons. He argues that a genuine constructivism will show the need for and justification of punishment as intrinsic to morality itself.

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This book aims to answer the question: 'why, and by what right do some people punish others?' The author argues that the justification of punishment must be embedded in a substantive political and moral theory. Matravers questions why it is that recent theories of distributive justice have hadso little to say about the punishment and r...

Matt Matravers is at the Department of Politics at University of York.

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Format:HardcoverPublished:August 1, 2000Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198295731

ISBN - 13:9780198295730

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Table of Contents

1. Consequentialism2. Retributivism I: Fair Play Theory3. Retributivism II: Resentment, Guilt, and Censure4. The Scope of Impartial Justice5. Impartial Justice, Motivation, and Punishment6. Justice as Mutual Advantage7. Self-Interest and the Commitment to Morality8. A Constructivist Theory of Moral Norms9. The Moral Community, Justified Coercion, and Punishment

Editorial Reviews

`Matravers is a careful critic of the various justifications of punishment.'Millennium, vol.30, no.1