Chukwunonso Vitalis Ogbo


For the purpose of this article, we will be taking a theory of punishment to be a philosophical account comprised of a determinate number of discreet elements such as a definition, a justification, and distribution. The definition spells out what the necessary and sufficient conditions are for an act of violence or coercion to be punishment. There are many kinds of justifiable violence or coercion, but not all of them can be understood as punishment. Then, the justification (which in many respects is the most important elements of a theory of punishment) explains why the class of actions picked out by the definition is morally or politically permissible. The distribution finally specifies who is an appropriate target of punishment and the method or quantity of punishment that is appropriate, the later being a difficult component for any theory.

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