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Corrective Justice and Reputation

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Courts of criminal jurisdiction commonly allow for mitigating circumstances when determining the punishment of convicted wrongdoers. This paper looks at some of the moral issues raised by mitigation, and asks in particular whether the damage that arraignment or conviction does to the good name of a previously well-reputed person may ever reasonably be considered as a circumstance justifying the imposition of a penalty lighter than is standard for the offence. It is argued that making an allowance for the loss of good name is sometimes required by justice and that a number of principled and practical objections that have been raised against the practice are unconvincing.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Philosophy, Durham University, Durham, UK, Email:


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