Revenge as the Dark Double of Retributive Punishment

Philosophia 44 (2):317-325 (2016)
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It is an assumption widely shared by both retributivists and anti-retributivists that revenge is a morally impermissible basis for inflicting harm. Retributivists have thus exercised great ingenuity in demonstrating that retribution is fundamentally different from revenge. But this is, I argue, to misconstrue the problem. The problem is rather to recognize the essential continuity between revenge and retribution, and to address the question whether there is a moral basis for the very idea of inflicting harm in response to moral wrongdoing. I argue that the only plausible such moral justification is the defense of honor, and that the debate needs to be focused on the legitimacy of honor as a moral basis for punishment.



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Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - Proceedings of the British Academy 48:187-211.
Philosophical Explanations.Robert Nozick - 1981 - Mind 93 (371):450-455.

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