James F. Doyle




A Radical Critique of Criminal Punishment

James F. Doyle presents a radical philosophical critique of punishment. He draws a contrast between the “ethics of obligation” and the “ethics of social relations” as radically different normative approaches to law and criminal punishment. As Doyle makes clear, the ethics of obligation informs current criminal justice punishment strategies, while the ethics of social relations, based on a more social and contextual view of how people are related to each other, offers a strong challenge to these practices. Doyle also demonstrates that the Clinton administration continues to operate almost exclusively under the ethics of obligation. Though Doyle’s argument focuses on punishment, it opens up a broader horizon about how we can think about social justice in all aspects of human relations.

ethics, justice, law, philosophy of, criminology

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 22, No. 2 (1995): 7-24


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