On expressive punishment and holisitic desert
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Expressive theories of punishment incorporate both deontological and consequentialist components. The deontological element claims that punishment expresses the value of both victim and wrongdoer. The consequentialist element claims that punishment restores the victim’s and wrongdoer’s worth. In contemporary literature, however, it is unclear which component is given priority and therefore expressive theories appear ambiguous at best and inconsistent at worst. My thesis argues that expressive theories are cleared up and made consistent through employing a holistic notion of punitive desert. Holism is the view that accurate desert judgments must reference an actually obtaining just distribution of punishment. In my view, the expressive function is feasible only when desert is understood holistically and in this sense expressive theories are committed to giving priority to the deontological component.
SubjectA Thesis by Jake Greenblum
Greenblum, Jake (2008). On expressive punishment and holisitic desert. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from