Punishment and the History of Political Philosophy: From Classical Republicanism to the Crisis of Modern Criminal Justice
Published: January 2016© 2016
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 192 Pages
Dimensions: 6.30 x 9.30
192 Pages, 6.30 x 9.30 x 0.85 in
Contemporary philosophy still lacks a satisfying theory of punishment, one that adequately addresses our basic moral concerns. Yet, as the crisis of incarceration in the United States and elsewhere shows, the need for a deeper understanding of punishment’s purpose has never been greater.
In Punishment and the History of Political Philosophy, Arthur Shuster offers an insightful study of punishment in the works of Plato, Hobbes, Montesquieu, Beccaria, Kant, and Foucault. Through careful interpretation of their key texts, he argues that continuing tensions over retribution’s role in punishment reflect the shift in political philosophy from classical republicanism to modern notions of individual natural rights and the social contract.
This book will be vital reading for political theorists, philosophers, criminologists, and legal scholars looking for a new perspective on the moral challenges faced by the modern criminal justice system.
Chapter One: The Problem of Punishment and the Limits of Reform in Plato’s Laws
Chapter Two: Modern Natural Right and Punishment in Hobbes’s Leviathan
Chapter Three: Liberalizing the Criminal Law: Montesquieu and Beccaria
Chapter Four: Retribution and Individual Autonomy in Kant’s Rechtslehre
Chapter Five: Foucault and the Crisis of Modern Criminal Justice
Conclusion: Punishment and Liberalism
‘Shuster does a yeoman’s work in critically evaluating the political philosophies of Plato, Hobbes, Montesquieu, and Foucault in an attempt to address the problems plaguing the modern criminal justice system in the US.’S.E. Blankenship, Choice Magazine vol 54:02:2016
‘Shuster has forced all those interested in punishment to take political philosophy seriously. He has laid the ground for further investigation into punishments’ meaning and purpose in the civic and moral education of citizens.’Cary Federman, Review of Politics winter 2017
‘This philosophical mosaic is a great book for those looking for a modern spin on some of the most pivotal and foundational pieces that have shaped the criminal justice system and law today.’Megan Traver, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books July 2017
“Arthur Shuster’s illuminating book probes the greatest minds to have addressed the issue of punishment from Plato to Foucault, revealing the impoverished condition of our contemporary debates on the treatment and punishment of criminals.”Stanley Brubaker, Department of Political Science, Colgate University