Discussions of punishment typically assume that punishment is criminal punishment carried out by the State. Punishment is, however, a richer phenomenon and it occurs in many contexts. This book contains a general account of punishment which overcomes the difficulties of competing accounts. Recognizing punishment's manifoldness is valuable not merely in contributing to conceptual clarity, but in that this recognition sheds light on the complicated problem of punishment's justification. Insofar as they narrowly presuppose that punishment is criminal punishment, most apparent solutions to the tension between consequentialism and retributivism are rather unenlightening if we attempt to apply them in other contexts. Moreover, this presupposition has given rise to an unwieldy variety of accounts of retributivism which are less helpful in contexts other than criminal punishment. Treating punishment comprehensibly helps us to better understand how it differs from similar phenomena, and to carry on the discussion of its justification fruitfully.
'If we hope to justify the infliction of punishment, we first must understand what punishment is, and how state punishments are similar to and different from those not imposed by the state. Leo Zaibert's original contribution tackles this neglected issue with remarkable clarity and insight. His effort is extremely readable and philosophically sophisticated.' Professor Douglas Husak, Rutgers University, USA 'This is an admirable book. It is clear, argued, resolute and original. Whether or not you agree, you learn from it, and come to think differently about retribution, revenge and more. It escapes convention. It will rightly take attention away from ordinary contributions to the debate.' Ted Honderich, Grote Professor Emeritus, University College London, UK and Visiting Professor, University of Bath, UK 'This is a throughly researched book which breaks new ground in the philosophy of punishment.' Ethics