Retribution: Punishment's Formative Aim

John Finnis

in Human Rights and Common Good

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199580071
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729393 | DOI:
Retribution: Punishment's Formative Aim

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This chapter examines Nietzsche's influential account of punishment in his On the Genealogy of Morals, and traces its connection with his (mis)understanding of conscience and (un)concern for truth, as well as its confusion of genealogy with justification and its assumption (shared by Bentham and Hart) that punishment is fundamentally an infliction of pain. The justice of retribution is considered in relation to a Vietnam War atrocity, and the reimportation of a retributive justifying aim for punishment is studied in its development by students of Hart on the basis of the account of restorative justice in The Concept of Law. That theory of punishment's aim is stated with some precisions and an allusion to the doctrine of hell.

Keywords: Nietzsche; Hart; truth; conscience; retribution; punishment; hell; justification and genealogy

Chapter.  6463 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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