Polish Journal of Philosophy

Volume 8, Issue 1, Spring 2014

Voin Milevski
Pages 25-35

The Utilitarian Justification of Prepunishment

According to Christopher New, prepunishment is punishment for an offence before the offence is committed. I will first analyze New’s argument, along with the epistemic conditions for practicing prepunishment. I will then deal with an important conceptual objection, according to which prepunishment is not a genuine kind of ‘punishment’. After that, I will consider retributivism and present conclusive reasons for the claim that it cannot justify prepunishment without leading to paradoxical results. I shall then seek to establish that from the utilitarian point of view it is possible to provide a plausible justification of this practice. Finally, I shall attempt to defend the claim that the fact that utilitarianism can justify prepunishment in a satisfactory way is clearly a favourable characteristic of this ethical position.