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The communicative theory of punishment and the problem of dangerous offenders

Seabourne, Daisy 2018. The communicative theory of punishment and the problem of dangerous offenders. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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A communicative theory of punishment is justified because it expresses censure and engages with the offender as a deserved response to the wrong that has been committed. The communicative theory treats all offenders as rational, autonomous agents capable of understanding and engaging with moral discourse. The focus of this thesis is R A Duff’s communicative theory of punishment which states that punishment as communication should involve what he calls secular penance, this aims to encourage the offender to repent, reconcile and reform. In this thesis I will present an argument in support of Duff’s communicative theory of punishment. However, the theory does not adequately deal with the punishment of dangerous offenders. If the communicative theory became practice then dangerous offenders would be subject to the same punishment as other, non-dangerous offenders; this does not seem to adequately address the seriousness of their ongoing behaviour. Even more problematic is that it appears that the punishment of dangerous offenders could not be justified at all within a communicative theory. I argue that there is a solution to the problem of dangerous offenders which is broadly consistent with Duff’s communicative theory, if a system of non-punitive detention is accepted.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Submission
Status: Unpublished
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 1 November 2018
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2019 03:24

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