Acknowledging Natural Punishment

Monday, 17 October, 2022 - 16:00

Presented by : 


A natural punishment occurs when an agent commits a wrong, and then, as a result of this wrong, faces a significant harm that is not caused by anyone seeking retribution against the agent for their wrong. When the wrong in question is a crime, some legal systems explicitly acknowledge natural punishments and see these as reasons to lessen or forgo intentional punishment, while most legal systems decline to acknowledge natural punishment, or only do so implicitly. This article advances two arguments. First, all legal systems should be permitted to acknowledge natural punishment, contrary to the claims of some legal theorists. Second, and more boldly, the article contends that all legal systems have an affirmative duty to acknowledge natural punishment, not out of mercy but to respect the requirements of justice.

General seminar arrangements

  • The WISH seminar is hosted on-line every Monday afternoon at 16:00 - 17:00 SA during the teaching semester.
  • A printable version of the seminar schedule for the current year is available here.
  • For the details of the Zoom meetings, please sign up for email notices at
  • Participants must read the paper prior to the seminar, which is typically available by the Friday preceding the seminar.
  • The WISH seminar archive is available here