A Kantian Critique of Kant's Theory of Punishment

TitleA Kantian Critique of Kant's Theory of Punishment
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsJ-C., M
JournalLaw and Philosophy

In contrast to the traditional view of Kant as a pure retributivist, the recent interpretations of Kant's theory of punishment (for instance Byrd's) propose a mixed theory of retributivism and general prevention. Although both elements are literally right, I try to show the shortcomings of each. I then argue that Kant's theory of punishment is not consistent with his own concept of law. Thus I propose another justification for punishment: special deterrence and rehabilitation. Kant's critique of utilitarianism does not affect this alternative, which moreover has textual support in Kant and is fully consistent with his concept of law.