Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Michael Green

Reader 2

Peter Thielke

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© 2016 Sydney R Scott


This paper attempts to justify punishment on the grounds that it is a benefit to the person being punished. I accept the basic premise of a previous theory of punishment, the Moral Good Theory (MGT), which states that we cannot harm anyone. Thus, punishment can only be justified if it is not a harm. The MGT claims that punishment is beneficial in that it provides a moral education to the offender. I reject the idea that punishment is morally educational and instead propose a new theory which revises and strengthens the MGT, accounting for its flaws. This new theory, the Social Good Theory, argues instead that punishment is beneficial because it allows a criminal to be reintegrated into society.

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Philosophy Commons