Philosophical Perspectives on Punishment

Edited by Gertrude Ezorsky

Paperback : 9780873952132, 408 pages, June 1972
Hardcover : 9780873952125, 408 pages, June 1972

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Table of contents

The Ethics of Punishment
Gertrude Ezorsky

I. Concepts of Punishment

Of Punishments and Rewards
Thomas Hobbes

On Punishment
A. M. Quinton

Is Punishment Retributive?
Kurt Baier

The Expressive Function of Punishment
Joel Feinberg

II. The Justification of Punishment

1. Teleological Theories

Punishment as Cure

Hegel's Theory of Punishment
J. E. McTaggart

Utility and Punishment
Jeremy Bentham

Punishment and the Individual
H. Rashdall

A Utilitarian Reply to Dr. McCloskey
T. L. S. Sprigge

Rule Utilitarianism (I)
John Austin

Rule Utilitarianism (II)
John Rawls

Rule Utilitarianism (III)
Richard Brandt

2. Retributivism

Justice and Punishment
Immanuel Kant

Punishment as a Right
G. W. F. Hegel

The Vulgar Notion of Responsibility
F. H. Bradley

An Organic Unity
G. E. Moore

Persons and Punishment
Herbert Morris

A Non-Utilitarian Approach to Punishment
H. J. McCloskey

3. Teleological Retributivism

Whether Vengeance is Lawful
St. Thomas Aquinas

The Right to Punish
K. G. Armstrong

On "Retributivism"
A. C. Ewing

Raphael Justice
D. Daiches

W. D. Ross

Principles of Punishment
H. L. A. Hart

J. D. Mabbott

III. Strict Liability

Those Who Have Sinned Involuntarily
St. Thomas Aquinas

Inefficacious Punishment
Jeremy Bentham

The Rationale of Excuses
H. L. A. Hart

Strict Liability and the Criminal Law
R. Wasserstrom

The Function of the Courts
Lady B. Wooton

Changing Conceptions of Responsibility
H. L. A. Hart

IV. The Death Penalty

The Deterrent Value of Capital Punishment
Royal Commission on Capital Punishment Report 1949-53

The Hon. Mr. Gilpin
Speech Against Capital Punishment 1868

Speech in Favor of Capital Punishment 1868
John Stuart Mill

V. Alternatives to Punishment

Bernard Shaw

Erewhon and Erewhon Revisited
Samuel Butler

The Paradox of Prison Reform
R. Martinson

Why Punish the Guilty?
R. Wasserstrom

Does Punishment Deter Crime
J. Andenaes

The Holdup Man
Clarence Darrow



"Punishment," writes J. E. McTaggart, " is pain and to inflict pain on any person obviously [requires] justification. " But if the need to justify punishment is obvious, the manner of doing so is not. Philosophers have developed an array of diverse, often conflicting arguments to justify punitive institutions.

Gertrude Ezorsky introduces this source book of significant historical and contemporary philosophical writings on problems of punishment with her own article, "The Ethics of Punishment. " She brings together systematically the important papers and relevant studies from psychology, law, and literature, and organizes them under five subtopics: concepts of punishment, the justification of punishment, strict liability, the death penalty, and alternatives to punishment.

Under these general headings forty-two papers are presented to give philosophical perspectives on punishment. Included are many (e. g., John Stuart Mill's defense of capital punishment) not generally available. This book brings together in a single volume the views of such diverse writers as Plato, St. Thomas Aquinas, Samuel Butler, Karl Marx, and Lady Barbara Wooten.

Others are J. Andenaes, K. G. Armstrong, John Austin, Kurt Baier, Jeremy Bentham, F. H. Bradley, Richard Brandt, Clarence Darrow, A. C. Ewing, Joel Feinberg, "The Hon. Mr. Gilpin," H. L. A. Hart, G. W. F. Hegel, Thomas Hobbs, Immanuel Kant, J. D. Mabbott, H. J. McCloskey, J. E. McTaggart, R. Martinson, G. E. Moore, Herbert Morris, Anthony Quinton, D. Daiches Raphael, H. Rashdall, John Rawls, W. D. Ross, Royal Commission on Capital Punishment Report 1949–53, George Bernard Shaw, T. L. S. Sprigge, and R. Wasserstrom.

Gertrude Ezorsky is Professor of philosophy at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York.