The Socratic Roots of Retributivism

  • J. Angelo Corlett


What appears to be the accepted view by most philosophers on Plato and punishment is that Plato was a moral education theorist about punishment. This chapter examines and exposes this view to be incorrect and poorly established by way of the informational contents of the Platonic corpus. Given the plausibility of the Socratic (Anti-Mouthpiece ) Interpretation, what the Platonic corpus tells us is nothing at all about Plato’s theory of punishment. Nor does it reveals Plato’s views on punishment. Nor does it reveal a theory of punishment at all. Indeed, it at best reveals what is expressed by Plato’s Socrates about punishment. But what it reveals through the words of Plato’s Socrates is hardly a moral education theory of punishment. Instead, what it reveals is mostly a retributivist view (not a theory), coupled with some words consistent with a utilitarian view of punishment, and comparatively very little about moral education and punishment.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Angelo Corlett
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophySan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA

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