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Retributive Punishment and Symbolic Restoration: A Reply to Duff.

Burms, Arnold
June 4, 2015

Source: (2005) In Erik Claes, René Foqué, and Tony Peters, eds., Punishment, Restorative Justice and the Morality of Law. Antwerp; Oxford: Intersentia. Pp. 157-164.

Two different levels of inquiry can be distinguished in Professor Duff’s paper. First, there is the level of immanent or internal understanding. Here the aim is to make explicit what the point of the practice of punishment is, to articulate its immanent goals and values. The first level is to be distinguished from a second level: Anthony Duff does not merely want to articulate the immanent meaning of punishment; he also wishes to discover whether punishment as it can be immanently understood can also be justified within the larger framework of democratic values. The two approaches finally meet in the thesis that punishment is in harmony with the immanent analysis yields. The crucial idea here is that punishment is a communicative process, that it communicates censure and that the offender who is censured is by that very fact taken seriously and addressed as a responsible agent. In what follows I shall concentrate mainly on the first level of Professor Duff’s account and try to add a few things to what he has said about the immanent meaning of criminal punishment. I shall end with a brief remark about the relation between the two levels of his normative theory. (excerpt)


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