Multilateral Retributivism

Justifying Change

  • Richard R. Eva
Keywords: philosophy, multilateral retributivism, justice


In this paper I argue for a theory of punishment I call Multilateral Retributivism. Typically retributive notions of justice are unilateral: focused on one person’s desert. I argue that our notions of desert are multilateral: multiple people are owed when a moral crime is committed. I argue that the purpose of punishment is communication with the end-goal of reconciling the offender to society. This leads me to conclude that the death penalty and life without parole are unjustified because they necessarily cut communication short.

How to Cite
Eva, R. R. (2015). Multilateral Retributivism: Justifying Change. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal, 8(1), 65-70. Retrieved from