Reformist ideas in the philosophy of punishment can be traced back to Plato. However, it is only in the late 19th century that explicitly reformist ‘theories’ are discussed by philosophers, and in the 20th century that they are worked out at length. The conception of reform has recently undergone important changes. Contemporary writers who are apparently reformist utilize use an enriched moral conception of reform, which conceives of it in terms of repentance for wrongdoing and a commitment to obey the law for moral reasons. This departs from an earlier conception that places less emphasis on repentance and the eliciting of moral motivation. Important features in the contemporary theories are highlighted. The enriched moral conception is less plausible than the older conception. A certain form of consequentialism gives a better account of the limited role that moral motivation should have in reform than does the enriched conception.
punishment, reform, Hart, Duff
Ethics and Political Philosophy
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Sverdlik, Steven, "Punishment and Reform" (2012). Philosophy Research. 1.