Publication details for Professor Thom BrooksBrooks, Thom (2011). Is Bradley a Retributivist? History of Political Thought 32(1): 83-95.
- Publication type: Journal Article
- ISSN/ISBN: 0143-781X
- Keywords: punishment; retribution; unified theory
- Further publication details on publisher web site
- Durham Research Online (DRO) - may include full text
Author(s) from Durham
Perhaps the least controversial area of F.H. Bradley's writings relates to his views on punishment. Commentators universally recognize Bradley's theory of punishment as a retributivist theory of punishment.
This article challenges the received wisdom. I argue that Bradley does not endorse retributivism as commonly understood. Instead, he defends the view that punishment is non-retributivist and serves the end of societal maintenance. Moreover, Bradley defends this view consistently from Ethical Studies to later work on punishment. Instead of holding a theory of punishment largely unique amongst British Idealists of his time, Bradley's views on punishment are far more consistent than previously thought.