Social justice and retributive justice

Allais, Lucy (2008) Social justice and retributive justice. Social Dynamics, 34 (2). pp. 128-139. ISSN 0253-3952

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This paper argues that our primary concern in responding to wrongdoing should be distinct from our concern with the just distribution of wealth: retributive justice serves an important moral end that is independent of the promotion of welfare. I proceed by comparing retributive justice to restorative justice, because the latter offers a paradigm often aimed at replacing retributive justice, and is more closely concerned with social justice. I suggest that there are different possible paradigms of restorative justice, that one which is closer to social justice is less plausible and that a more plausible model need not be in tension with retributive justice, but could rather fall under it. I do not, however, conclude that there is no relation between retributive and social justice; while they relate to importantly distinct moral claims, I provide reasons for thinking that the moral justification of our system of punishment depends on the existence of at least some measure of social justice. The aim of retributive justice is importantly distinct from the just distribution of wealth, but this distinct aim cannot be served without some degree of justice in the distribution of wealth

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > Philosophy
Depositing User: Lucy Allais
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 18:52
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2012 11:37
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