More on the comparative nature of desert: Can a deserved punishment be unjust?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Adam and Eve have the same record yet receive different punishments. Adam receives the punishment that they both deserve, whereas Eve receives a more lenient punishment. In this article, we explore whether a deserved-but-unequal punishment, such as what Adam receives, can be just. We do this by explicating the conceptions of retributive justice that underlie both sides of the debate. We argue that inequality in punishment is disturbing mainly because of the disrespect it often expresses towards the offender receiving the harsher treatment, and also because it casts doubt on whether Adam got what he deserved. We suggest that when no disrespect is involved and when it is clear that the criminal got what he deserved, inequality is not worrisome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-333
Number of pages18
JournalUtilitas
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science

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