Introduction

Authored by: John Kleinig

The Routledge Handbook of Criminal Justice Ethics

Print publication date:  July  2016
Online publication date:  July  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415708654
eBook ISBN: 9781315885933
Adobe ISBN: 9781134619450

10.4324/9781315885933.intro

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Abstract

Philosophical interest in criminal justice is as long-standing as philosophical interest in civil society, and the more restricted interest in criminal justice ethics—albeit not under that rubric—is of similar antiquity. Humans are first and foremost social beings, but beings whose societal existence has always been fractured by conflicts having moral and ethical (and often religious) significance. Responses to those conflicts are likewise suffused with such significance. Punishment, seen as an ethically appropriate response to wrongdoing, has figured in the reflections of almost every ethically oriented philosopher and thinker from the Hebrews and Greeks to the present. 1 Punishment for crime—societally prohibited wrongdoing—has engaged almost every moral, legal, and political philosopher. There have been skeptics, to be sure, but they have not been able to ignore such concerns. Interest in criminal justice and the ethical questions it generates are unavoidable dimensions of human and philosophical inquiry.

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