Retributive Justice and Natural Law | Dominican University College

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Date: 
Thursday, November 8, 2018 - 19:30
Location: 
Dominican University College, 96 Empress Avenue, Ottawa, ON

 

Retributive Justice and Natural Law

Public Conference

November 8, 2018 - Dominican University College (room 219), 96 Empress Avenue, Ottawa
Speaker: Dr. Peter Karl Koritansky, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies, University of Prince Edward Island


With the notable exception of Immanuel Kant, a prevailing theme of modern moral and political thought is the exclusion of retributive justice, or the idea that society has an obligation to punish criminals primarily because those criminals deserve it. This is the rationale behind the modern emphasis on deterrence, rehabilitation, and the physical protection of society from dangerous criminals. Dr. Koritansky will argue that the exclusion of retributive justice is actually quite harmful to society. He will do so by briefly examining and comparing the discussions of punishment by two pre-modern thinkers for whom retributive justice is a central theme: Plato and Thomas Aquinas. He will conclude by suggesting that Thomistic natural law is the best means of understanding retributive justice and by justifying it as a true good for civil society.

 

Dr. Peter Karl Koritansky attended the Catholic University of America (in Washington DC) as an undergraduate, then he went on to the University of Toronto in 1996 to pursue a PhD in Philosophy. In December of 2001, he defended his doctoral thesis entitled “The Question of Punishment and the Contemporary Relevance of Thomas Aquinas”. He currently teaches at the University of Prince Edward Island. His primary scholarly interest is the history of moral and political thought with an emphasis upon the thought of Thomas Aquinas. He is also interested in the Catholic intellectual tradition and medieval intellectual history.