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Benjamin L. Apt

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Do We Know How To Punish?, Benjamin L. Apt Jul 2015

Do We Know How To Punish?, Benjamin L. Apt

Benjamin L. Apt

A number of current theories attempt to explain the purpose and need for criminal punishment. All of them depend on some sort of normative basis in justifying why the state may penalize people found guilty of crimes. Yet each of these theories lacks an epistemological foundation; none of them explains how we can know what form punishments should take. The article analyses the epistemological gaps in the predominant theories of punishment: retributivism, including limited-retributivism; and consequentialism in its various versions, ranging from deterrence to the reparative theories such as restorative justice and rehabilitation. It demonstrates that the common putative epistemological ...