Where is the Love? The Topography of Mercy<sup>*</sup>

John Tasioulas

in Crime, Punishment, and Responsibility

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199592814
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729034 | DOI:
Where is the Love? The Topography of Mercy*

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Antony Duff has defended an ‘externalist’ view of mercy, according to which it is ‘an intrusion into the criminal process, into the realm or perspective of punishment, of quite other considerations and values’. In addition, he denies that a criminal offender's repentance is ever a proper basis for giving them a more lenient sentence than would otherwise be the case. This chapter takes issue with both of these claims, defending an ‘internalist’ account of mercy, one according to which repentance is a paradigmatic ground for mercy. Moreover, it argues that internalism about mercy fits best with two broader views that Duff himself has powerfully advocated: a general value pluralism and a communicative justification of punishment.

Keywords: punishment; justice; retributive justice; mercy; equity; repentance; value; pluralism; internalism; externalism

Chapter.  8993 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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