The Necessity for Punishment in Hegel as a Right of Freedom

by Sabina Tortorella

The article presents the theory of punishment in the Elements of Philosophy of Right focusing on Abstract Right and Administration of Justice. The first part of the essay underlines how punishment allows restoration of the universality of right and plays a role of education to the universal, directed against the natural and immediate will. Through reference to Eumenides’ tragedy, the second part points out the limits of Abstract Right in order to then focus on Civil Society, in which, thanks to a court and a trial, punishment is the real conciliation. The conception of punishment reflects the status of the different moments of Objective Spirit, since, while in Abstract Right Hegel sets the problem of the rational foundation of punishment, in Civil Society he questions himself about its purpose and its applicability. This leads not only to rediscussing the opposition between the retributivist interpretation on the one hand and the utilitarian one on the other, but also to highlighting that punishment constitutes the key to access the issue of the validity of right as well as to identify its contradictions.

DOI 10.23815/2421-2156.ITALJ           ISSN 2421-2156

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