Philosophy



Corlett on Kant, Hegel, and Retribution


Thom Brooks 

Abstract

The purpose of this essay is to critically appraise J. Angelo Corlett's recent interpretation of Kant's theory of punishment as well as his rejection of Hegel's penology. In taking Kant to be a retributivist at a primary level and a proponent of deterrence at a secondary level, I believe Corlett has inappropriately wed together Kant's distinction between moral and positive law. Moreover, his support of Kant on these grounds is misguided as it is instead Hegel who holds such a distinction. Finally, I attempt to refute the almost timeless retributivist rejection of deterrence-based theories of punishment on the grounds that the latter somehow would condone in some cases the punishment of innocent persons. These individuals almost always demand that no innocent person be punished as a rule of the highest order.