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39 UCLA L. Rev. 1659 (1991-1992)
Correction Harms versus Righting Wrongs: The Goal of Retribution

handle is hein.journals/uclalr39 and id is 1673 raw text is: CORRECTING HARMS VERSUS RIGHTING
Jean Hampton*
There has been a steady rise in the popularity of retributivism
over the last decade, which is surprising given its near death in the
1950's and 1960's. Yet critics of this approach to punishment are,
in my view, right to charge that its supporters appeal to little more
than intuition when they defend the idea that all and only wrongdo-
ers deserve to suffer. In this paper, I will develop what I call the
expressive theory of retribution in order to explain and defend
the idea of retributive desert. I have presented this theory in other
places;' here I want to restate the theory, taking into account criti-
cal reactions to the view that have appeared since I first began to
develop it. Next, I shall argue, on the basis of this theory, that retri-
bution is a fundamental and necessary component of any morally
respectable system of punishment carried out by the state, but not
the only component.2 Finally, I will argue that not all retributive
* Professor of Philosophy, University of Arizona. B.A., Wellesley College, 1976;
Ph.D., Harvard University, 1980. I would like to thank David Dolinko for his critical
comments on this project, Peter Arenella for his interest in it, and Gary Gleb for his
editorial help during the writing of this paper.
1. See, e.g., Hampton, A New Theory of Retribution, in LIABILITY AND RESPON-
SIBILITY: ESSAYS IN LAW AND MORALS 377 (R. Frey & C. Morris eds. 1991), which is
a modified version of J. MURPHY & J. HAMPTON, FORGIVENESS AND MERCY 35-87,
111-61 (1988), in which I first developed this theory of punishment. See also Hampton,
An Expressive Theory of Retribution, in RETRIBUTIVISM AND ITS CRITICS (W. Cragg
ed. 1992).
2. I would also argue that moral education and deterrence should be goals of any
well-designed system of punishment. Thus, I am a convert to the pluralist approach to
justification of punishment, an approach I thought was wrong when I espoused the
moral education theory some years ago. See Hampton, The Moral Education Theory of
Punishment, 13 PHIL. & PUB. AFF. 208 (1984), reprinted in PHILOSOPHY OF LAW 708
(J. Feinberg & H. Gross eds. 1991). Nothing I say in this article should be understood
to be critical of the moral education theory espoused in that paper, but I no longer
believe (as I did then) that moral education can be the sole aim of punishment.


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