An Expressive Theory of Punishment by William Wringe

By William Wringe

This publication argues that punishment's functionality is to speak a message approximately an offenders' wrongdoing to society at huge. It discusses either 'paradigmatic' circumstances of punishment, the place a country punishes its personal electorate, and non-paradigmatic instances resembling the punishment of agencies and the punishment of struggle criminals by means of overseas tribunals.

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Quarantine and the involuntary hospitalization of the mentally ill are not punishment because they do not involve an intention to cause suffering. 26 There are at least two ways of denying that these are cases of punishment without accepting Hanna’s view. One is derived from the account of punishment I outlined in the first paragraph of the paper; the other on considerations peculiar to the expressive view. Both quarantine and involuntary confinement could take forms which would be found burdensome by a typical individual of the kind on whom it is being imposed.

But if I intend to inflict on you some treatment which would typically cause suffering in individuals like you and you do not suffer, then I have not necessarily failed. I mayy have failed: 22 23 Hanna 2008 pp. 124–7; 2009a p. 330. Duff 1992 p. 49; quoted by Hanna 2008 p. 127. Punishment, Harsh Treatment and Suffering 27 I may be mistaken about what individuals like you would find burdensome. Furthermore, if I have not made you suffer, this may be evidence that I am mistaken about exactly that.

Hanna argues that something important is obscured by the fact that the characterization of punishment that I have given in the first paragraph makes no explicit reference to punishment’s involving an intention to cause suffering. 22 I disagree: I shall argue that the right way of understanding the notion of harsh treatment which figures in the characterization of punishment given in the first paragraph of the paper is that it is treatment which would normally be found burdensome by a typical individual of the kind on whom it is being imposed.

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