A non-punitive alternative to retributive punishment

Gregg D. Caruso, Derk Pereboom

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter argues that the retributive justification of legal punishment should be rejected and proposes the public health-quarantine model as the best alternative. It begins by explaining why retributivism requires that we have the sort of free will at issue in the historical debate, and then outlines arguments in support of skepticism about such free will. The authors then present additional reasons for rejecting retributivism: that the epistemic standard for accepting retributivism is very high given that retribution is harmful, and that this standard is not met; and that retributivism is dependent on vengeful sentiments, acting on which is wrong. The chapter concludes with a presentation of an alternative means of addressing criminal behavior: the public health-quarantine model, a non-punitive alternative that draws on the public health framework and prioritizes prevention of crime and social justice.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge handbook of the philosophy and science of punishment
EditorsFarah Focquaert, Elizabeth Shaw, Bruce N. Waller
Place of PublicationNew York ; London
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780429016653, 9780429507212
ISBN (Print)9781138580626
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameRoutledge Handbooks in Philosophy


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