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An Expressive Theory of Punishment. By BILL WRINGE. (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. Pp. viii + 188. Price £45.83.)

Lee, Yuk Kong (2016) An Expressive Theory of Punishment. By BILL WRINGE. (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. Pp. viii + 188. Price £45.83.) The Philosophical Quarterly, 67 (267). pp. 418-421.

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Drawing on some of his previously published work, this book constitutes to date Bill Wringe’s most systematic and comprehensive attempt to develop and argue for what he refers to as a ‘denunciatory theory’ of punishment. Like most other expressive theories of punishment, Wringe’s denunciatory theory holds that (i) what distinguishes punishment from other kinds of harsh treatments is that it expresses certain messages of disapproval; and (ii) that it is in virtue of the kind of messages of disapproval it expresses that punishment is to be justified, at least in the pro tanto sense (p. 23). In particular, according to Wringe’s denunciatory theory, punishment is justifiable in virtue of it expressing a message of disapproval that ‘certain norms are in force and that transgressions against them are viewed seriously’ (p. 24), and this message is directed not just to the offender but also to the wider political community in which the offender is a member of (pp. 56-58). This contrasts with other expressive theories of punishment; for example Duff’s communicative theory, according to which the message of disapproval is directed primarily to the offender with the aim of inducing the offender to repent for his or her wrongdoing.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Law
Authors :
Lee, Yuk
Date : 7 April 2016
DOI : 10.1093/pq/pqw031
Copyright Disclaimer : © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Scots Philosophical Association and the University of St Andrews. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 16 Aug 2017 14:22
Last Modified : 16 Jan 2019 18:55

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