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Criminal Procedure

Legal Philosophy

2011

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Punishment As Contract, Claire Oakes Finkelstein Jan 2011

Punishment As Contract, Claire Oakes Finkelstein

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This paper provides a sketch of a contractarian approach to punishment, according to a version of contractarianism one might call “rational contractarianism,” by contrast with the normative contractarianism of John Rawls. Rational contractarianism suggests a model according to which rational agents, with maximal, rather than minimal, knowledge of their life circumstances, would agree to the outlines of a particular social institution or set of social institutions because they view themselves as faring best in such a society governed by such institutions, as compared with a society governed by different institutional schemes available for adoption. Applied to the institution of punishment ...