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Fairness-Based Retributivism Reconsidered

Journal article
Authors Göran Duus-Otterström
Published in Criminal Law and Philosophy
Volume 11
Issue 3
Pages 481–498
ISSN 1871-9791
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Political Science
Pages 481–498
Language en
Links doi.org/10.1007/s11572-015-9382-1
Subject categories Political Science, Philosophy


In this paper, I defend fairness-based retributivism against two important objections, the no-benefit objection and the social injustice objection. I argue that the theory can defeat the no-benefit objection by developing an account of how crimes can be sources of unfairness by inflicting losses on people, and that it can blunt the social injustice objection by toning down the theory’s distributive aspirations. I conclude that fairness-based retributivism, contrary to received wisdom, merits further attention from legal and political philosophers.

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