SAGE Journal Articles

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Article 12.1

Brown, S. P. (2001). Punishment and the restoration of rights. Punishment & Society, 3(4), 485–500.

This article considers the attempt to justify punishment in terms of its ability to restore the breached rights of the crime victim. It examines the arguments put forward by Immanuel Kant and Georg Hegel and contends that their theories, having followed similar patterns linguistically and stylistically, each founder though for different reasons, at the key stage of demonstrating how punishment restores rights. Kant relies upon an inappropriate analogy while Hegel resorts to an over-extended metaphor. Neither demonstrates how punishment `undoes' the wrong inherent to crime. Within the contemporary literature, there is a move from punishment as the restoration of right towards punishment as the reaffirmation of right. However, the article argues that the theories following this path fail to demonstrate why punishment is necessary to the reaffirmation of right. For the above reasons, there is, as yet, no satisfactory `justificatory' link between punishment and victims' rights.

Article 12.2

Whitehead, P. (2016). ‘Shine like a jewel’: Kantian ethics, probation duty and criminal justice. European Journal of Probation8(2), 51–67.

Since the 1980s, the criminal justice system in England and Wales has been recalibrated by the ideological and material forces of marketization and competition. Specifically, the probation duty to advise, assist and befriend has been eroded by the instrumental functions of punishment and prison. These profound transformations have undermined the ethico-cultural foundations of criminal justice, indexed clearly in the privatization of probation services between 2010 and 2015. The original contribution of this article draws upon Kantian deontological ethics to critique these events and to re-energize the moral coordinates of government policies and organizational practices. It confronts the current orthodoxy with the unconditional moral demand of duty and moral obligation.

Article 12.3

Satkunanandan, S. (2011). The extraordinary categorical imperative. Political Theory39(2), 234-260.

Many political theorists assume that Kant’s categorical imperative can only present itself to politics epistemologically—that is, as a test or procedure for acquiring more certain knowledge of duties. This study retrieves the ontological aspect of the categorical imperative by showing that the Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals is a conversion narrative. In the Groundwork, Kant describes a transformative encounter with the categorical imperative as a principle that discloses our (ordinarily concealed) ontological condition. This encounter opens a new mode of being characterized by the feeling of awe. In its ontological aspect, the categorical imperative discloses human freedom and demands an unflagging thoughtfulness, but offers no material guidance about duties. When understood in both its ontological and epistemological aspects, the categorical imperative offers a rich portrait of human responsibility and can help illuminate the ethical stance appropriate to politics without becoming a standard to be imposed upon politics.