Nozick's Revenge

Philosophy 70 (274):581 - 586 (1995)
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Abstract

When I first came across Robert Nozick′s Philosophical Explanations I was struck by the purity of his justification of punishment. Most latter-day retributivists are crypto-utilitarians, claiming to find some sort of benefit in penalties, even if it is only symbolic. Nozick too sees punishment as symbolic, but not as having any necessary utility. Paradoxically, perhaps, he is one of the few retributivists who insists that it matters what the offender makes of his penalty. Even more interesting is the importance he attaches to the analogy between retribution and revenge. Most retributivists are at pains to distance themselves from vengeance: but not Nozick

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