Distributing Retributive Desert

Hosted by LSE Law

Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building


Professor Kimberly Kessler Ferzan


Professor Jeremy Horder

This lecture explores puzzles of distributing retributive desert. Even if one takes giving people what they negatively deserve to be intrinsically good, one must confront questions of distribution.

First, are there times when the means principle prevents giving people what they deserve? For example, if a citizen does not believe that it is intrinsically good to make offenders suffer, may she be coercively taxed to support it? Second, does retributivism have anything to say about the form and timing of punishment or about how to select among the deserving? That is, if the state must pick a form of punishment or must choose the kinds of crime to focus upon, does retributivism contribute to these selection questions, or are they determined by other considerations? Finally, should distributions take into account differential susceptibilities to punishment or prior undeserved suffering? For instance, should it matter that the rich and poor do not experience the same fine as equally punitive?

Kimberly Kessler Ferzan is Harrison Robertson Professor of Law and Caddell and Chapman Professor of Law, University of
Virginia School of Law.

Jeremy Horder is Professor of Criminal Law and Head of LSE Law. 

LSE Law (@lselaw) is an integral part of the School's mission, plays a major role in policy debates & in the education of lawyers and law teachers from around the world.

Suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #LSEdesert

Podcast & Video

A podcast and video of this event are available to download from Distributing Retributive Desert.

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