© 2013

Honor and Revenge: A Theory of Punishment

  • First book to expound a new theory that provides a rational foundation for the practice of punishment

  • Provides a moral defense of revenge in a way never before attempted

  • Gives a concise but systematic summary of the current state of the debate

  • Is written at a level that is accessible to researchers and practitioners alike, avoiding technical philosophical jargon or abstruse issues in philosophy


Part of the Law and Philosophy Library book series (LAPS, volume 104)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vii
  2. Whitley R. P. Kaufman
    Pages 1-18
  3. Whitley R. P. Kaufman
    Pages 19-45
  4. Whitley R. P. Kaufman
    Pages 47-72
  5. Whitley R. P. Kaufman
    Pages 73-92
  6. Whitley R. P. Kaufman
    Pages 93-112
  7. Whitley R. P. Kaufman
    Pages 113-146
  8. Whitley R. P. Kaufman
    Pages 147-166
  9. Whitley R. P. Kaufman
    Pages 167-191
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 193-203

About this book


This book addresses the problem of justifying the institution of criminal punishment.   It examines the “paradox of retribution”: the fact that we cannot seem to reject the intuition that punishment is morally required, and yet we cannot (even after two thousand years of philosophical debate) find a morally legitimate basis for inflicting harm on wrongdoers.  The book comes at a time when a new “abolitionist” movement has arisen, a movement that argues that we should give up the search for justification and accept that punishment is morally unjustifiable and should be discontinued immediately.  This book, however, proposes a new approach to the retributive theory of punishment, arguing that it should be understood in its traditional formulation that has been long forgotten or dismissed: that punishment is essentially a defense of the honor of the victim.  Properly understood, this can give us the possibility of a legitimate moral justification for the institution of punishment.​


Crime and Punishment Criminal Punishment Is Punishment Justified? Justice and Revenge Law and Punishment Punishment and Moral Philosophy Punishment as Crime Prevention Punishment, Honor, and Revenge Retribution and Justice Retributive Theory of Punishment Revenge as the Defense of Honor Revenge versus Retribution The Problem of Punishment

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1., Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Massachusetts LowellLowellUSA

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