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Volume 24 • Number 4

October 2010



 

 

The Forfeiture Theory of Punishment: Surviving Boonin’s Objections


by Stephen Kershnar


In this paper, I set out a version of the Forfeiture Theory of Punishment.

(1) Forfeiture Theory: Legal punishment is just or permissible because offenders forfeit their rights.

On this account, offenders forfeit their rights because they infringed on someone’s rights. My strategy is to provide a version of the Forfeiture Theory and then to argue that it survives a number of initially intuitive seeming objections, most having their origins in the recent work of David Boonin.

A. Victim-Specific Forfeiture Theory

Part #1: Individuals Have a Right to Punish On my theory, individuals have a pre-institutional right to punish. To see this, consider the following.


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ISSN: 2152-0542