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Document Details :
Title: Fatsoenlijk vergelden
Author(s): VAN STOKKOM, Bas
Journal: Tijdschrift voor Filosofie
Volume: 78 Issue: 4 Date: 2016
This contribution develops a position mid-way between orthodox retributivism and abolitionism and outlines a constructive punishment theory. To provide adequate meaning to retribution we need to shift the focus from past-oriented aims, such as ‘just deserts’, to future-oriented aims: first, that of restoring the victim’s honor, and secondly, that of inviting the offender to apologize and make good. This reformulation of punishment requires that the private needs of victims are considered from within a frame of ‘public reasonableness’. It is argued that we could give priority to punishment as a restorative obligation and evade punishment as affliction, if possible (although the meting out of a painful punishment is inevitable in the case of serious crimes which have engendered outrage). It is also argued that the old formula of ‘intentional infliction of suffering’ is a misleading definition of punishment.