What Does Wrongdoing Deserve?

John Kleinig

in Retributivism Has a Past

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199798278
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919376 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Penal Theory and Philosophy

What Does Wrongdoing Deserve?

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This chapter explores whether the language of desert can be given a credible place in our thinking about the appropriateness of a response to wrongdoing and, if so, what that deserved response might be. Does it follow seamlessly from the question of what wrongdoing deserves that punishment is the best or only appropriate answer? The chapter is organized as follows. Section I briefly reviews the vicissitudes of desert before considering in Sections II and III, a range of other possible responses to wrongdoing that highlight the distinctive character of the response that is sought when the language of desert is invoked. Section IV revisits the grammar of desert, before focusing on preinstitutional deserts and their implications for our response to wrongdoing in Section V. Section VI takes a brief look at the ill-desert–hard-treatment nexus before applying this, in Section VII, to the demands of restorative justice.

Keywords: desert; punishment; wrongdoing; ill-desert–hard-treatment; restorative justice

Chapter.  9434 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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